It's a piece of cake with Delia

31st March 2006 at 01:00
Jack Kenny takes a tongue-in-cheek look at the ingredients for success

So you know about self-review?

I've always thought it sounds vaguely naughty.

You have a one-track mind.

My friend says that you can't fatten a pig by weighing it.

True, but you can find out if it is on the right diet.

Can ICT self-review tools and resources help my school?

Looking for short cuts? They can help you to identify blind spots you might have. Anything is better than an inspector or adviser sitting in the school scribbling notes that they will use to condemn you with later in a teeth-grinding interview.

All this reminds me of Delia Smith.

Why on earth would you say that?

If Delia was doing this, she wouldn't ask you questions. She'd ask: "You want the perfect apple pie?" Then she'd give you the recipe. Simple. We want the recipe.

Schools don't work like that.

You mean that no one at Becta knows the recipe for the perfect school?

Of course they do, they talk of little else.

Well, why don't they tell us so we can get on with it and stop all this ticking boxes nonsense? Does the ICT self-review offer advice?

Doesn't everybody? If advice was currency we'd all be rich. Everyone offers advice to schools, especially those furthest from the classroom. But in the time-honoured cliche, good self-review establishes: where you are, where you ought to be, and how to get there. There are tools too.

Tools? Always makes me think of spanners and screwdrivers. What kind of tools?

We ICT people use the word tools loosely.

What will Becta's Self-Review Framework contain? Is it all ticking boxes?

There is box ticking but not on paper - it's online.

Online! Oh good.

Don't be sarcastic, it doesn't suit you. The areas covered will include ICT in teaching, using ICT resources, and ICT in assessment. From a set of statements, schools will choose those most closely matching their state of development. They will be given a profile to help plan their next steps.

They can benchmark their progress and compare it with others at a similar stage.

Benchmark! I love this trendy jargon. You'll be telling me next it will allow me to touch base with Becta.

It will.

Not rocket science! Steep learning curve? But will it help me to think outside the box?

I haven't mentioned maturity models?

I've heard of it but when I put that into Google I got some strange results. The women did not look that old.

Behave! I hate it when you make light of something serious. The Becta website says: "Maturity models do not provide guidance on how to run an organisation, only how mature the organisation is based on key processes and practices that are employed. The maturity level is indicative of the effectiveness and efficiency of the organisation and the probable quality of its outcomes."

Don't people object to business jargon being dragged into education? Trouble is, you ICT people think that ICT is the only thing that schools have to deal with. We are drowning in initiatives: Every Child Matters; Student Voice; Work Related Learning; Workforce Remodelling; Enterprise Education. All the people to do with those initiatives think that they are the most important ones.

ICT is overarching.

That's what they all say. Why isn't everyone, to use my favourite religious analogy, "singing from the same hymn sheet"?

But they are. Organisations including Ofsted, the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust, the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, the Training and Development Agency, the National College for School Leadership, the National Strategies and Naace have helped develop various elements.

You'll be telling me "they've all signed up to it".

They have.

Team players?

All on message.

247? There for us? Becta has obviously said: "We really need to get all the ducks in a row, going across the piste, if this value proposition is going to fly."

They are talking the talk and walking the walk.

The trouble is, all this sounds like stuff for the VIPs in school. What about the foot soldiers who have to do it all?

All that has been thought of. There are the practical support pack materials.

Are the practical support pack materials the same as the enhancing subject teaching using ICT materials?

You have been paying attention. Yes they are. They were developed by commercial companies and were sold to schools. They have been brought up to date and now they are free.


At So where does the ICT Mark fit? Those nice people at Naace did all of this years ago.

That was largely concerned with getting the structure right. This is about outcomes.

And the new ICT Excellence Awards?

They are the icing on the cake.

See, I told you that we needed Delia Smith.

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