PRIMARY TEACHERS claim a much-hyped free interactive tool designed to simplify lesson planning is in fact complicating the process.
It was introduced by the Department for Education and Skills last month and intended to help teachers adapt the national primary framework to their class.
Teachers upload their own planning template into the tool and can then box off chunks of text from the primary framework and upload them directly into their template. But teachers have found the tool, which cost pound;200,000 to produce, is difficult to use, with few obvious benefits.
One contributor to The TES online staffroom said: "To be honest, I do not see the point of it all. It is much easier just to copy and paste into Microsoft Word. They have made something very simple into a very complicated way of doing things."
Another teacher claimed the tool uses 10 steps for a process that takes one in Word and the additional facilities were less impressive than they initially seemed. She said: "The downloadable templates are a nice touch but obviously weren't produced by anyone who has to make use of them, and certainly don't lend themselves to producing a meaningful plan."
Another said: "They say if you get enough monkeys with enough typewriters for enough time, you will get them to produce the complete works of Shakespeare. Please can we get these monkeys to work on creating a decent interactive planning tool?"
Alan Colcombe, the head of Scawthorpe Sunnyfields primary in Doncaster, says his staff have not been able to use the tool. "They couldn't get it to work. Then they called in people who were good at IT, and they weren't able to manage it," he said.
"The Government and IT just don't go together."
However, Pete Dudley, the director of the primary strategy, said: "These comments do not reflect the positive reaction there has been from primary teachers throughout the country who have found the tool makes planning easier and more focused."