You will not get another pound;450 per head for training teachers to use information and communications technology (ICT) for a long time. So make sure you use your New Opportunities Fund cash successfully.
* Do not be in a hurry to do the training, as the first schools to sign up will be guinea pigs * Ask to see the materials prepared by the provider: it is likely that some curriculum areas will be better served than others * Remember that track records do not really count in this enterprise. Good hardware and software suppliers do not necessarily make good trainers. Every trainer is entering into the unknown * Check whether one provider can fulfil all the curriculum needs of the school. If not, be sure what curriculum expertise these people have * Do they provide face-to-face training, out of school, or distance learning?
* What additional expense will your school have to incur to carry out this training?
* Are the training materials written by theorists or by practitioners?
* Will the style of learning suit most teachers in the school?
* If it is distance learning, will you ever see a real person?
* Are they proposing to make good use of the technology in the training?
* Will they understand the unique needs of your school?
* How will they communicate and create a real passion for this new way of learning and teaching?
* Will it be the in-service version of mass industrial catering?
* What is the quality control?
* Is the provider offering accreditation?
* Make sure that you keep listening out to learn from the experience of other schools * Ask your LEA for advice but do discover if your LEA has a financial arrangement with any of the providers and then treat their advice with caution
...and a course
* Spend time understanding the participants and what will appeal to them * Try to cater for the varied learning styles show infinite patience * Allow people to work at their pace * Try to find what will flip the switch for each person * Recognise that however carefully planned their "advanced" course may be, someone will have signed up who had not used the mouse yet, or been sent by the in-set co-ordinator on "detention in-set", and, of course, cope with the situation.
* Build in time for reflection and talk * Know that sometime during the course some of the equipment will not work as expected * Adapt to the participants' circumstances * Make the work relevant to the audience * Make it real * Make it practical * Relate it to the classroom * Keep it simple!
* Do more listening than talking * Create a safe, uncritical space for trainees to ask questions and make comments * Be able and willing to change the course in response to questions and comments * Acknowledge achievement and effort * Communicate and generate passion for the subject.
* Above all, remember that most people are not interested in ICT: they are interested in being more efficient, more productive, teaching better, motivating their pupils, getting access to better resources.
Tips contributed by Jane Mitra, Peter Milford, Gareth Davies, Nigel Ward and Jack Kenny