Schools leaders need to develop a clear vision about how best to prepare for the new digital skills framework being introduced as part of curriculum changes, according to Estyn, the education and training inspectorate. In schools that are preparing well, leaders put their vision into practice by involving all staff and fostering positive attitudes towards the digital competence framework.
Estyn’s report, ‘Preparing for the Digital Competence Framework’, gives an overview on how schools are beginning to ensure that pupils have opportunities to develop their digital competence. Inspectors visited schools many of which have been identified as having innovative and interesting strategies, which are captured in case studies.
Meilyr Rowlands, Chief Inspector, says,
Central to a successful education system is ensuring that the next generation are not only knowledgeable in an increasingly digital world, but stay safe online and acquire advanced digital skills to support their future employability.
Schools should be familiarising themselves with the new Digital Competence Framework, by creating a whole-school vision and putting this into practice. Our report outlines the key steps to starting this journey, making progress and then building and sustaining momentum.
The digital journey of Ysgol Gymraeg y Fenni in Monmouthshire involved radically rethinking its approach to new technology. Leaders changed the way that they planned their curriculum and established a programme of investment to ensure that the school’s digital infrastructure and hardware was fit to prepare pupils for life in the 21st century. Teachers’ and pupils’ confidence in digital skills is now far greater and pupils’ standards and progress are, in many cases, above that expected for their age.
Similarly, Ysgol Gyfun Rhydywaun, Rhondda Cynon Taf has a vision of digital learning that is contributing to a transformation in pupils’ and teachers’ use of technology, as well as to the school’s approach to online safety. This work has complemented the school’s overall approach to preparing for the new curriculum.
Inspectors found that the schools visited as part of the report were at various stages of preparedness for the new digital competence framework. The report makes a series of recommendations for all schools including appointing a digital lead who has full support of senior leaders, providing relevant training for teachers, and auditing ICT hardware and infrastructures. Local authorities, regional consortia and the Welsh Government have a key role to play in supporting schools to embed the framework in their curriculum.