The much-vaunted potential of IT to free teachers from administrative chores could be undermined unless support staff are better trained and paid.
Frank Berry, head of St Margaret's High in Airdrie, said: "The collective demands of Standard grade, Higher Still and 5-14 testing will swamp schools if nothing is done to upgrade the level of administrative support."
Jill Robinson, HMI, said education authorities should adopt strategies for all schools which would bring coherence to IT-based administration.
But Ms Robinson also stressed the vast potential of IT not just for freeing administrative time but also for improving learning and teaching.
There should be more efficient communication and data transfer within schools, between schools and with the local authority. Reports to parents could be made easier. And there would be gains from closer monitoring of pupil performance.