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Confidence grows in ICT skills

PUPILS AND teachers in Wales are gaining confidence in ICT, particularly in primary schools, say inspectors.

The Welsh inspectorate Estyn found that standards in two-thirds of primaries were either good or very good; slightly more than half of secondaries reached the same standard.

More than pound;7 million was allocated for ICT in schools through the Better Schools Fund (BSF) in 20056 to help promote the subject. Estyn found that schools and local authorities have made good use of the resources to fund training for teachers, but standards in key ICT skills still vary "unduly" between schools and classes.

Teaching unions are now calling for more resources to be phased into school budgets to enable teachers to keep up with rapid technological developments.

Estyn has recommended that the Assembly government continues to fund ICT in schools through the BSF and provide guidelines on how to evaluate the impact of ICT on pupils' learning.

Inspections show that where schools have made the greatest improvements in ICT, school managers have played a key role.

Initiatives between primary and secondary schools that link ICT skills developed at key stage 2 with those needed at KS3 also help, according to Estyn.

Pembrokeshire provides an ICT consultancy service for its schools in which advisory teachers are on hand to give training and support. Mike Isted, one of the advisory staff, said: "ICT has become very important, not so much as a subject in itself but in terms of teaching generally.

"In primary schools in particular, it has become an integral part of learning - an everyday tool for teaching that is now becoming embedded in the curriculum."

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