Becta's Self-Review Framework is designed to help schools to evaluate their use of ICT and to plan future investment. It is a straightforward process to identify the strengths and weaknesses of current ICT deployment and utilisation, and to identify key priorities for future investment.
The SRF is not only for schools. It can help organisations, agencies, local authorities and private companies to be clear about the needs of schools and the support required. It clarifies the routes that a school can take to improve its effective use of ICT. It provides guidance in setting and achieving realistic goals for improving ICT at a practical rate, confident in the knowledge that they are working towards best practice.
The key elements
The SRF sets out a structure of eight elements to facilitate self-evaluation and action planning:
1 Leadership and management.
3 Learning and teaching
5 Professional development.
6 Extending learning.
8 Impact on pupil outcomes.
Through the online tool kit, you can align your school against level descriptors to create a profile of the current status of your school's ICT development. It is easy to reference the evidence to illustrate the school's position. You can use the overall profile to help prioritise the areas requiring development and the direction you wish to travel.
Using the online tool, you can formulate an action plan, setting out targets, timelines and the resources the school will need. You will find it easy to adapt the suggested actions to meet the specific needs of the school. And in each area you will find guidance and support to help the school in moving forward.
Involving a wide range of school staff in the discussion and self-review and evaluation produces a common perception and a deeper understanding of the school's vision and direction for ICT. Both online and offline tools are available to support progression through the next levels. Schools can implement the changes at their own pace and may wish to draw on the assistance of their local authority and other ICT support providers. They can re-evaluate their progress and reassess their plans over time.
Look at each of the elements of the framework; you may identify a key area you need to address as a priority. If so, start there.
You may wish to begin with the leadership and management element. This will enable you to evaluate your approaches to leadership and management of ICT, realise strengths and weaknesses, and gain a greater understanding of the inter-dependence of the elements. Or make a quick review of the elements to give you a broad overview and enable you to identify which to prioritise.
Look at it as a team, share your understanding and agree roles and responsibilities to meet your school's priorities.
Whichever route you choose, be honest. This will make it easier for the framework to help you arrive at the most meaningful results.
The main purpose of the review is to offer a route and suggest actions by which you can enhance the use of ICT based on an informed evaluation of the current position. Many school leaders have found this process extremely valuable, and to obtain full value it is also important that schools draw on appropriate evidence, to inform an accurate evaluation, and therefore, precise action-planning support.
To get a true, overall picture, all elements should be reviewed over a planned period of time, enabling you to re-consider and review progress at regular intervals.
Some key points to remember
* Split self-review activities into manageable blocks and give priority to those that are most important to the school improvement plan.
* Plan the process to allow time to discuss, reference evidence, decide on your position and amend suggested actions.
* Take a challenging look at your existing systems: the aim is system transformation rather than simply the implementation of technology solutions.
* Consider the inter-related elements of the SRF together.
* Involve as many staff as possible, aggregating their views in order to draw the most accurate picture.
* Ask pupils: they are always keen to talk about their ICT experiences.
* Remember, the SRF is a dynamic process that you will need to continually revisit.
* To enable you to gather and include the views of others and to reference evidence sources, use the range of functionality that the tool offers.
The ICT Mark is available from April 2006 and is a nationally recognised scheme aligned with the SRF, with identified thresholds to demonstrate success and achievement.
Using independent, individually accredited assessors, this is a national scheme, recognised by all partners who have developed the self-review framework and is already recognised by schools as a mark of quality.
It is available for all schools and is based on your own assessment of your position against the framework. Within each of the eight elements are thresholds to indicate the good and effective use of ICT. These are clearly marked within the online tool by the ICT Mark icon.
When you have identified that you meet or exceed these thresholds, you can apply for assessment for the ICT Mark by completing the online registration form. You will then receive details of how the scheme works, what to do, what the assessor will look for and the process of nomination and award.
You will be able to choose your assessor from a register of accredited assessors. However, you cannot be assessed by someone who has helped and advised you in your school.
When successful, the award will be made for three years; you will receive a certificate as recognition of your success, lapel badges to demonstrate your school has the ICT Mark and authority to use and celebrate the award in your school, your material and with your local press. The ICT Mark is administered by Naace under contract to Becta, the awarding body.
ICT Excellence Awards
These awards, which offer further recognition for the whole school and for individuals, also reflect the elements of the SRF. This is a new award scheme for schools, which aims to identify and reward whole-school excellence in ICT.
The awards have been launched to reward UK schools approaching ICT in outstanding or innovative ways, benefiting their whole community, inside and outside school. By recognising whole-school best practice, these awards are closely aligned with Becta's SRF for school and college improvement with ICT, which will be available from April 2006, and the new ICT Mark.
There will also be a focus on individuals leading change in the school and making an impact across it.
There are seven awards categories open to primary and secondary schools.
One is for the best whole-school ICT. The other six focus on assessment, curriculum, extending learning, inclusion, leadership and management, and learning and teaching. Schools should complete an online application form to enter.
The deadline for entries is April 13, 2006; www.becta.org.ukexcellenceawards
*Mike Briscoe, assistant director at Becta, thanks all who have helped create the Self-Review Framework, the ICTMark and the ICT Excellence Awards:"Without our colleagues at the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust, National College of School Leadership, Naace, QCA and the TDA, we would not have reached the alignment we have with the day-to-day advice and guidance offered to schools.
Representatives at the DfES, Ofsted and National Strategies have directly positioned the framework with their support and we now have a wide range of stakeholders actively driving and promoting the framework. It represents a milestone in the work of Becta ."
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