ICT in UK Schools: Contents page | Report index

The role of government
1 Government has some limitations on its ability to take direct action in promoting ICT in schools:

Decision taking on funding and equipment in schools within the UK education system is highly de-centralised(1) and ...

Even if Central Government were minded to hypothecate dedicated resources to ICT, the reality is that the scope for any government of any political persuasion to do this is limited.

2 Does this mean that Government has little or no role? No! In a field which is fragmented and muddled, Government has a key role in:

Proclaiming and championing an ICT strategy, two crucial parts of which are ...

Making it a requirement for the national agencies in the education service (e.g. OFSTED, SCAA, TTA, etc.) to help Government to achieve its strategy.

Encouraging every school to formulate, implement and report back on its own policies on ICT across the whole school.

While ICT in schools has, in the last 24 months, begun to attract increasing political attention, the hard reality is that that has not translated into a serious policy, still less into spending commitments. We doubt, incidentally, whether this would have been much different whoever had been the Government of the day. It is essential, however, that after the next Election the then Government:

Decides that it is of the utmost importance that a major effort is made to improve the use of ICT in schools and therefore ...

Proclaims an outline strategy within which ...

The main national agencies are key players


That also inspires and enables every school, every LEA, every organisation and individual involved in the profession to participate in a coherent and productive way.

We also recommend that a dedicated departmental minister is appointed for at least the first two or three years to make sure that it happens.

3 The main components of such a Government strategy should be:

Recognition that despite the many problems posed by the hardware issues (not least the funding of it, and the problem of access for the less well off both of which will be addressed later in this report), they are less important than ...

The need for an urgent re-evaluation of various means of supporting teachers as well as ...

The urgent development of relevant software and ...

A concerted effort to make usage of external networks affordable and predictable for all schools.

The remainder of our report deals with each of these key issues in order before going on to cover:


4 Although we have suggested that it is inappropriate (and in practical terms unlikely) for Central Government to make major spending commitments to ICT in schools, there will, nonetheless be financial consequences for a Government that is seriously committed to promoting ICT in schools whether in a number of the measures that will be needed on teacher training, software development, networking or indeed on some of the interim funding required for equipment (see chapter 4, point 5).

Cross references to McKinsey:
(1) Exhibit 6

© The Independent ICT in School Commission 1996/7. All rights reserved. Contents page