ICT in UK Schools: Contents page

1 We were established (see Appendix A) at the behest of Tony Blair and David Blunkett to examine the role that ICT should be playing in primary and secondary education. This was, in part, due to their recognition that the networking issues raised over the last two years (cabling and the National Grid for Learning), were only two of many issues that needed to be understood in the wider context of technology in education. Tony Blair and David Blunkett established us (see Appendix B for the relevant text) independently of the Labour Party, making it plain that the members of our group should be chosen for their skills and not for their political background.

Thus it has been! While we were established at the initiative of the leader of Her MajestyÕs Opposition our work concerns an issue which should be seen as non partisan. Although we hope that the recommendations in our report will be adopted by the Labour Party, the report is not a statement of Labour Party policy. We hope that it will be of use to politicians of all persuasions and to all those with an interest in the education of young people.

2 The main aim of our work has been to produce an objective analysis of the current usage of ICT in schools; and to suggest on the basis of this analysis a desirable set of priorities for Government after the next election.

Our objective has not been to produce a detailed blueprint. That would be pretentiously unrealistic in a field which is as technically complex as it is fast changing.

3 Our work has been informed by two main inputs ....

We conducted an evidence gathering exercise having realised how many disparate views exist in this field many of which are in conflict. Appendix C sets out the form of our request for evidence. Appendix D lists the main contributors. Subject to any confidentiality request we are happy to share the evidence given to us.

We wish to thank everyone who gave evidence. A huge amount of trouble was taken reflecting the degree of commitment there is to the development of ICT in schools.

The second input has been a comprehensive analysis of ICT in schools carried out by a team from McKinsey & Co.

At the start of our work we discovered that the consulting company, McKinsey & Co, have a serious interest in the subject of ICT in schools following their work carried out by their American practice on behalf of President ClintonÕs NII Commission. In parallel with our work, they have carried out, at their own expense, an independent review of ICT in UK schools. We have been fortunate to have had continuous access to the McKinsey team carrying out this work as well as to debate the key issues with them.

McKinsey, we must emphasise, bear no responsibility for the conclusions and recommendations in our report. We have, however, in our report, cross referenced our conclusions to the analysis in the McKinsey report and we recommend that the two volumes are read in parallel.

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