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Why heads prefer snail mail

Computers in schools have done little to reduce workload, a survey suggests.

Fewer than a third of school leaders say increased use of technology has cut the burden on staff. This is despite claims by ministers that it would reduce the time taken to write reports and speed up retrieval of information.

Many heads seemed uncomfortable about information and communications technology. More than half who expressed a preference said they preferred external agencies to communicate by post, compared to 30 per cent who preferred email.

One in nine school leaders admitted lacking confidence when using computers for management purposes, with older staff only slightly more likely to admit weakness than younger colleagues.

More than 400 heads and senior managers were surveyed by the National Union of Teachers.

The NUT found that headteachers are generally satisfied with the information provided on government websites, although they were less complimentary about that provided electronically by other schools.

The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority was viewed the most positively, followed by local authorities, the Department for Education and Skills and the Office for Standards in Education.

John Bangs, the NUT's head of education, said: "Heads do not want to buy into a culture where they are stuck in front of their screens the whole time."

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