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Visit to be among the first to know what we are premiering at stand C76BETT Update sponsored byThe British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA) is the education the Government, schools and suppliers to ensure the sector's standards it carries out regular sector surveys and focus groups to understand the Ray Barker, director, BESA considers the impact of the policy changes In most cases the issues and corresponding views affecting primary and secondary education are very different. However, one opinion that is currently the same across both sectors is that budget allocation is better than expected - a surprisingly positive view! However, it is the lack of ring fenced funding for ICT that has brought the most concern. The majority of schools agree that ICT is now 'embedded' in the curriculum; in their words 'it's just there; it's just natural; it's how kids are brought up'. Paradoxically, this view is exactly the reason the Government gives for no longer separating out ICT funding, as it should now be a part of the school's overall budget and the school's responsibility to choose the ICT solutions best for their particular needs. The appointment of Vanessa Pittard at the Technology Policy Unit at the DfE and Michael Gove's comments at the Royal Society in July should now instil schools with more confidence in the Government's commitment to technology in education.Our recent ICT in UK State Schools research indicated that by 2012/13 nearly half of all schools anticipate more than 50% of pupil-time will be exposed to teaching and learning using ICT. About 10% note that nearly 100% of all pupil-time will involve exposure to ICT. Schools must therefore continue to invest in ICT to stop any digital divide. Schools are not going to be told what to do any more and don't need to wait to be guided by the government on their ICT investments.Academy status was an issue that was very prevalent for both primary and secondary schools. Most agree that some services provided by their local authority are good value for money, but many feel that they can get better value elsewhere and, of course, Academy status enables them to do this. To fill any budget gaps brought in by the lack of ring- fenced funding, for extended schools services for example, many secondary schools are now looking for new kinds of commercial deals to cut the cost of resources. For example, one school we came across had become a 'show school' for a photocopying company, receiving free upgrades. Others are working in school clusters, to give them better buying power in areas such as catering. BESA ICTupdate"Schools don't need to wait to be guided by the government"

4654, 779TCLOUD18Visit to be among the first to know what we are premiering at stand C76BETT Update sponsored byeducation sector's trade association, working with standards are always optimised. As part of this, the current issues and views in our schools. changes relating to ICT over the past year.Moving to the curriculum, schools once again had a lot more confidence in the new freedom to teach different subject areas in the way that they want, with the technologies to suit each student's specific requirements. The only area of the curriculum that raised concern was the Government's view that synthetic phonics is the only approach to teaching reading. Schools are aware of the restrictions of phonics materials linked to matched funding at Key Stage 1, but many feel there is more value in buying their own resources that match their needs rather than be forced into buying those 'approved products', even with matched funding. Secondary schools offering the Ebacc have many challenges, one being the fact that they will have to offer teaching of any number of languages - Mandarin, Hindi-Urdu, Bengali, Russian or Japanese to name just a few. Taking this one step further, we should ask the question whether modern foreign languages will have to continue to be taught at primary level if we are to achieve a good standard at secondary. In both cases, relatively expensive specialist teaching support will have to be weighed up against eLearning resources that may at least support a part of this teaching.It is the head teachers who are experiencing the biggest need for change, as they are having to move from managing their school's budgets to managing their own 'business'. A steep transformation has happened in a very short time and while many of the changes were welcomed, concerns are inevitable.The new freedoms, and changes in curriculum and assessment all point to the fact that continuing professional development (CPD) is an increasingly big issue and to this end BETT's extensive CPD programme delivered by the highest calibre speakers makes the show a must-attend event. Be sure to check the CPD seminar and conference programme at, as it develops over the coming months. This is a real investment in developing and responding to the challenges of ICT. Although it is best to secure your place by booking online in advance (cost £15). If you are in any doubt as to which seminars are right for you, please come to the BESA Information point in the Grand Hall where will be happy to discuss your challenges and answer any questions, including recommending the best CPD route for you.ICTupdate