Primary techies leading the way

28th September 2007 at 01:00
They are confident and effective, survey shows.

Primary teachers are vastly better trained in using technology than their secondary school counterparts and more confident with it, according to the Becta survey.

Virtually every primary teacher had received some training, as opposed to only half of secondary teachers. Eight out of 10 primary teachers had attended a formal training course against only a third of secondary teachers.

Secondary teachers were also less likely to rate the quality of training they had received with nearly a third saying external courses were not good.

The survey revealed that confidence levels were also highest in primary schools, where 80 per cent of teachers thought they were effective.

In secondaries, where the figure stood at 67 per cent, four per cent of teachers said they were not effective at all, compared with 2 per cent in primary. English teachers were least likely to rate their abilities.

Despite these discrepancies, the majority of teachers in both sectors wanted further help to use particular software packages and classroom technology.

Terry Freedman, chairman of the ICT subject association Naace, said it was easier for a secondary teacher to "hide" from technology.

"If you've always got good results in geography, for example, you might not see the point in going forward and using technology," he said. "In primary, the curriculum is more blended together and there's one teacher per class, so there's more need to be ICT literate.

"There is also the issue that there is less technical support in primaries, so maybe the teachers have to be more self-sufficient."

He added that headteachers should not be complacent when it came to training, as technology was constantly changing.

"There comes a point when you have enough kit in a school to make a real difference, but you really need to think about how they can use this stuff," he said.

The Becta report pointed out that teachers were using technology for a relatively restricted range of uses when it came to delivering different subjects, using simple functions such as internet searches and office tools. Few used it for more advanced purposes, such as helping pupils work together.

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