NASUWT: “ICT – another slash and burn reform”

Teachers and school leaders have little confidence in the Coalition Government’s reforms of the ICT curriculum, with more than six out of ten teachers believing they are leading to a drop in teaching time for the subject, a new survey from the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union, has found.

The online survey of almost 2,000 teachers and school leaders found that the Coalition Government’s changes to the curriculum and cuts to school budgets are having a detrimental impact on ICT, with the majority of teachers saying that resources, jobs and support have all been cut in their school.

The survey found that:
over a third (36%) of respondents said that the introduction of the English Baccalaureate has reduced the time allocated to ICT at Key Stages 3 and 4 in their school;
14% said that jobs had been lost in their school as a result of the introduction of the English Baccalaureate;
17% reported that ICT teaching jobs have been lost in their school as a result of cuts to school budgets and almost a quarter said technical or support roles had been cut;
well over a third (43%) of respondents reported that local authority support services for ICT have declined or disappeared in the last two years. As a result, over half (57%) said it was more difficult to obtain information about the latest ICT developments and nearly two thirds (64%) said that strategic planning for ICT is now more difficult;
over three quarters (77%) of respondents said they did not receive regular ICT training and professional development, rising to a worrying 83% of those respondents who are ICT subject specialists;
over a third (37%) of respondents felt that the Government’s move to scrap the current ICT curriculum from this September would hamper rather than promote curriculum innovation;
over half (56%) said they thought these changes would lead to further job cuts in schools and almost two thirds (63%) believed it would lead to a decrease in teaching time for ICT in their school;
the overwhelming majority of respondents believe schools will not have enough time to properly plan or prepare for a new programme of study.

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:

“This survey provides clear evidence that as a result of the announcement of the English Baccalaureate, ICT, a non-EBacc subject, doesn’t even have Cinderella status.

“Combined with the rushed reforms to the ICT curriculum, which are leaving schools ill-prepared, teachers have no confidence that children and young people will have access to high quality ICT which is so critical in 21st century schools.

“The findings of this survey reflect the fact that this is yet another area of education reform where the ideologically driven Secretary of State presses on with little or no regard to the impact on children and young people and the workforce.

“The NASUWT is not opposed to a review of ICT provision and recognises that there may be areas which need to be developed and improved, but a strategic, properly funded approach is needed, not another slash-and-burn reform leaving a vacuum in provision and loss of talented staff.

“The test for any educational reform should be whether it will raise standards.  This is yet another hasty, ill-thought out change and yet again it will be children and young people who will be the losers.”

ENDS

Notes to editors
A copy of the survey is attached.

In January 2012, the Secretary of State for Education announced plans to disapply the National Curriculum Programmes of Study and Attainment Targets at KS3 and KS4 in England from September 2012. Whilst schools would still be required to teach ICT at KS3 and KS4, they would be free to determine what is taught.

The online survey of teachers and school leaders was conducted over a two-week period in May 2012 and received almost 2,000 responses.

Respondents included teachers, assistant, deputy, and headteachers and special needs coordinators. Over a third taught ICT as a subject and almost a quarter held specific responsibilities for ICT (such as ICT Coordinator and head of an ICT department).

Lena Davies
Press and Media Officer
Campaigns and Communications Team
NASUWT
0121 457 6250 / 07867 392 746
lena.davies@mail.nasuwt.org.uk