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Elevate your school's ICT stars

Entries for the next ICT in Practice awards, the UK's most important annual educational technology award scheme, organised by the British Education and Communications Technology Agency (Becta), close at the end of this month.

And Becta chief executive Owen Lynch is urging teachers, and all who work with them, to respond to the new deadlines brought in this year.

"Now in their sixth year, the ICT in Practice Awards continue to reward excellence in the effective use of ICT," he says. "I would encourage teachers, headteachers, governors, advisers, colleagues or members of professional bodies to nominate colleagues who they feel have demonstrated excellent practice by the deadline of March 31."

The variety of work and styles of teaching on display at this year's awards ceremony, held at the BETT show in January and featured throughout this issue of TES Online magazine, shows the wealth of practice that the award scheme uncovers. Since it started, the entrants have been judged after schools have returned from the summer break, in September and October. With this year's closing date brought forward to March 31, there is now some urgency to getting the entries in.

The aim of the awards is to share and publicise new techniques, strategies and approaches in ICT and to use these to encourage their adoption and spread across the wider teaching community. The booklets, videos and expertise from past years are available at and have become part of the reservoir of knowledge that Becta has about the many ways that ICT can improve learning.

Entry is relatively simple. Candidates for the awards have to be nominated.

The process is explained on the Becta site, which is now open for nominations (address below). After March 31, the entries will be assessed and a shortlist drawn up. Everyone on the shortlist will be visited in the summer term and then the final decisions will be made. The judges will look for candidates who have commitment to the use of ICT for teaching and learning, an understanding of how work has contributed to raising standards, the ability to inspire and motivate students and colleagues, and visionary and sustainable ongoing plans.

The presentations will be made at BETT in 2006. Each award winner will receive pound;2,500, with an additional pound;2,500 going to their school or organisation. Each runner-up will receive pound;500, with an additional Pounds 500 going to their school or organisation.

The categories are: teaching; new to teaching; inclusion; learning assistance; leadership; collaboration; and advice and support.

The TES is the media sponsor, and sponsor of the new to teaching category, while the lead sponsor in Ramesys, with Adobe, Capita and Toshiba as associate sponsors.

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