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Preparation For IT Inspection - Checklist

* Will our beautifully desktop-published school IT policy stand up to close examination when the inspector burrows into classroom practice?

* Does each subject's scheme of work include clear statements about the use of IT?

* Will an inspector discover areas of IT which the IT department thought were being covered in other subjects, while the subject teachers thought IT was doing it?

* Does the IT teacher have a working plan (scheduled classroom visits; taking part in planning meetings; contributing to schemes of work) to help make sure that the other teachers are using IT appropriately?Is the IT teacher monitoring pupils using IT in other subjects (classroom observation; checking pupils' work; evaluation meetings with teachers) and looking for appropriate use and clear progression over time?

* Does the IT teacher spot-check around the school for misunderstandings of the policy, gaps in provision or just plain incorrect use of computers? How do we actually know when and how IT is being used across the curriculum? (If we can answer that one in detail, then we can help the OFSTED team to find examples of good IT) * IT helps learning by speeding up drafting; making it easier to explore possibilities and take risks; and providing quick answers to problems involving lots of data. Do subject teachers keep these principles in mind and pass them on to the pupils, so they do not just use the computer for the sake of it?

* Many of our pupils have sophisticated equipment at home. Do we just ignore that, or do we make an effort to respect and use their expertise and help them to move on further?

* As well as fighting for better equipment, can we demonstrate that the hardware we have is being fully and sensibly used? Are "old" machines abandoned, or are they drafted into service for those applications that they can still do very well? Have we remembered that a lot of IT can be done without computers?

* Are we confident that there is no gender bias in the way IT is used by the pupils or in test and examination results? If there is, can we be seen to be doing somethingabout it?

* Have we helped the governors to include IT in budgeting, so that equipment can be kept up to date and improved?

* Are we working to ensure that IT has a strong presence in the school's in-service training plan and that training is available for experts as well as for teachers lacking confidence?

* Do we do all our training in-house, or do we use outside help? If the former, are we ready to convince an OFSTED team that we can do it properly?

* Are IT teachers wasting time fixing plugs and cables? Support staff should be doing this. If they are not, can we put together an appropriate proposal, bearing in mind what an OFSTED team might have to say?

* And, very important, when we know about our OFSTED visit, will we find time to look at the team's CVs, making sure that we are happy with their ability to inspect the subject?

* Essential documents:The National Council for Educational Technology's Reviewing IT, Pounds 15 from Sales, NCET, Milburn Hill Road, Science Park, Coventry CV4 7JJ. Tel: 01203 416994. (An updated version is due out in September) * Two OFSTED subjects and standards documents -Key Stages 1 and 2; Key Stages 3 and 4 and Post-16, Pounds 6.95 each from HMSO PublicationsCentre, PO Box 276, London SW8 5DR. Tel: 0171 873 9090, fax orders: 0171 873 8200

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