Does your school sometimes feel like a pressure cooker that needs to let off some steam? Often the day-to-day tasks and challenges are never ending, and no sooner does one job finish than the next begins. Take a look at just some of the statistics:
- The number of teachers working more than 48 hours a week has risen by almost a third in the past five years, outstripping other professions.
- 80% of classroom teachers have seriously considered leaving the profession in the past 12 months.
- According to the Association of School and College Leaders’ (ASCL’s) Geoff Barton: “while inspections may not directly cause heads to lose their jobs, 'busloads' of school leaders are forced out because Ofsted judgements undermined them.”
- Of the secondary school head teachers aged under 50 who were appointed in 2013, 31% had left by 2016.
Now, we’re not talking about ICT being a quick fix for every school challenge, yet we do believe that ICT and ICT supported correctly can lighten the workload for school staff, allowing them to focus on school improvements and strategy for the future.
Indeed, Education Secretary Damian Hinds agrees that technology in education could be improved for the benefit of schools and learners, saying: “a strong partnership between government, technology innovators and the education sector…will ultimately support and inspire the learners of today and tomorrow.”
We see that technology makes all our lives easier in many ways outside the classroom: for communication, for finding out information quickly, for organising our lives and so much more. We also believe that the way ICT supports us in our everyday lives outside of school hasn’t yet been completely translated into school life; in other words, the uptake of ICT in education is far less than it is in both the business and home environments. And if there is a way to integrate ICT a little more across school/s and the classroom, this would be one positive step towards easing staff pressure in an education setting.
ICT for increased engagement
Former teacher and behaviour expert Tom Bennett believes there is a “national problem” with pupil behaviour which is not being taken seriously enough. He acknowledges that there is no silver bullet to overcome this. Yet we believe that ICT can help with increasing student engagement, with technology and programs that they enjoy using, and that allow them to work at their own pace. Almost all educators (94%) now recognise that Edtech can improve engagement levels and the majority (72%) think that behaviour could be improved with technology.
ICT for confidence
Some of the stress experienced by teachers is down to the use of technology itself and the fact that many teachers haven’t had enough ICT training to use technology with confidence. In a recent British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA) report, 34% of primary and 20% of secondary teachers had received less than one hour of Edtech training per year. Improving ICT training in schools is one way to relieve pressure in terms of confidence in the classroom, whilst also supporting greater student engagement.
ICT for better communication
Life is far easier when we are all able to communicate effectively. Communication through the use of ICT means that tasks get carried out faster, less gets forgotten about, missed or mistranslated. Improved communication can benefit parents, staff members, students and school leaders.
Head teachers are largely in agreement that cloud-based communication, lesson tools and online content/marking are most likely to grow in the coming years. Why not look into how your school is communicating with those inside the school walls and those outside of school? If you make this one improvement, you will save time and reduce pressure for all involved.
ICT for improving school processes
Your office staff will probably need a helping hand too. Schools are now eligible for Office 365 Education for free, which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Microsoft Teams, plus additional classroom tools. G Suite for Education is also free with institution-wide email through Gmail, shared calendars and classroom collaboration with Google Classroom – giving everyone in school some ICT assistance.
ICT support for ICT staff
Our research has shown that there is an increasing expectation from ICT leaders that due to continued budgetary pressures, network team sizes will fall over the next two years. Through working with an external ICT support provider you can divvy up the tasks your tech team work on – for example, an external provider could work on mundane tasks while your Network Manager comes up with a school-wide ICT strategy. Or they could pass the strategy work to your external provider and just get on with keeping the school ICT running like clockwork day to day.
Improving your ICT is a great way of alleviating pressures across the board – for all stakeholders – including school staff, parents, teachers and learners. Having the time or the insight to be able to drive these improvements forward is another challenge in itself however, and that’s why many schools contact our team for external support.
Need a quick way to assess your school ICT?
Why not use our free ICT Health Check Tool?