How to deliver exceptional ICT

Part of our role as ICTMark assessors involves carrying out visits to schools that have reached the threshold for ICTMark accreditation. The half day visit allows us to check that the threshold level has been reached across all required aspects of the Self Review  Framework. We can only recommend accreditation for the award after carrying out a review in school where I look at evidence, consult with the head teacher and meet school leaders, staff and learners in order to judge that the school is able to demonstrate that it has reached the required levels.

We encourage schools to think about the following 10 key considerations when looking to achieve this award:

Progress and achievement – think about pupils in different classes, subjects and years in your school.

To what extent has the use of ICT had a demonstrable impact on their progress and achievement?  Put another way, would they have made less progress and achieved less well had they not been able to use ICT?

ICT Capability – think about your pupils’ progress and achievement in relation to their ICT capability.

Do all pupils make good progress in developing and applying their knowledge, skills and understanding of ICT in a wide range of contexts?

Pupils’ learning – think about how your pupils learn in different classes, subjects and years.

Does ICT help them learn more effectively both in school and elsewhere?  In other words, does their use of ICT in and out of school help them to become better learners?

Quality of teaching – think about the teachers and support staff in your school.

To what extent has the effectiveness of their teaching been improved by ICT?

Organisational effectiveness – think about your school as an organisation and the people that work in it.

To what extent is the use of ICT improving working practices and making your school more effective and efficient?

Partnerships – think about your communication and engagement with parents/carers.

To what extent is ICT used to enhance the partnership with parents/carers? Is this effective in engaging them more fully in the life of the school and in support of their children’s learning?

Vision and strategy – think about what your school is trying to achieve through the use of ICT.

Is there a shared vision for the way that ICT will improve the quality of learning, teaching and management, and a strategy which ensures this is realised?

Leadership and innovation – think about the leadership at all levels in your school.

Does this leadership create a culture where staff feel encouraged to develop new practices with ICT, reflect on outcomes and share successful innovation for wider adoption?

ICT resources – think about your school’s ICT resources including hardware, software and digital learning and management resources.

Are these of sufficient quantity, quality, reliability and availability to help you achieve your school vision and your aspirations for ICT? In other words, do you have the right resources in the right place at the right time?

Safeguarding – think about the pupils, staff and others with access to the school’s ICT systems.

Is there a clear and well-understood e-safety strategy which ensures a safe environment for ICT use?  Are pupils and staff made aware of their responsibilities so that they adopt appropriate behaviours when they use ICT both within and beyond the school?

Contact us to find out how we can help you become an exceptional ICT school

    We take your privacy seriously and will only use your personal information to provide the products and services you have enquired about. If you consent to us contacting you for this purpose please complete the fields below to say how you would like us to contact you. We will not pass on your details to third parties.

    Your Name



    Position in school/organisation

    Your Email


    Your Message

    NaaceMark – Virtual Assessments

    During the current difficult and challenging situation with regard to Covid19 many schools have asked about assessments for the NaaceMark Award.

    Instead of a visit by an assessor, a series of ‘online’ meetings can take place to allow the assessor to discuss with the school community all the questions normally asked face to face via a virtual meeting. There will need to be a number of agreements discussed between the school and the assessor in advance.

    The Virtual Assessment Visit (VAV) operates as follows:

    • The school should provide the virtual meeting system at the arranged times with the assessor.  This will ensure that the system provided meets the school’s requirements for online safety of its pupils and staff.
    • The school provides the assessor with a short video tour of the school in advance of the online meetings. This video should show the teaching areas of the school and their associated technology facilities. The video, could if the school wish, include short interviews with staff who the assessor will not meet during the virtual assessment meetings. The video should not be longer than 10 minutes and does not need to be a professional finished project.
    • Online meetings with school staff should not take longer in total than the standard visit arrangements – half a day.
    • Online meetings with school staff may be split into shorter meetings if this helps the school with staff/parent/governor/pupil availability.
    • If multi meetings are used these should take place as quickly as possible, within two working days.

    If you’d like to discuss the NaaceMark and the Self Review Framework, please get in touch at 

    Sharing images – resource

    The education team at CEOP has released new resources including Jessie & Friends that looks at the importance of seeking permission before sharing a photo. The series of three animations and resource pack can be used by teachers and parents to talk to primary aged pupils about image sharing, the importance of consent, and how to ask for help if they have a problem online.

    For 8-10 year olds, the Play Like Share cartoons (information for educators) and Band Runner game (information for educators) explore sharing content online, helping children learn to identify risk and get support when they need it.  Play Like Share is a series of three animated films (6-7 minutes each) with supporting activities. Featuring characters and safety messaging from the Play Like Share animated films, Band Runner is a fun game that puts children’s knowledge about staying safe online to the test by asking them to help characters make safe choices.

    DFE Safeguarding Guidance

    The Department for Education has updated the ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ statutory guidance for schools and colleges following a consultation earlier this year. The guidance comes into force for schools from September 2018. I have highlighted some of the key changes to the guidance below.

    Online safety – Although the online safety section has not changed, schools should reflect upon the use of portable devices in school and the increasing use of 4G.

    Teaching safeguarding – Pupils need to be taught about safeguarding, including staying safe online, as part of a broad and balanced curriculum. This information could be provided through personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education or sex and relationships education (SRE).

    Children’s wishes – Schools should ensure that pupils’ wishes and feelings are taken into account when determining what action to take in response to a safeguarding concern.

    Policies – Safeguarding policies should be publicly available, updated annually and reflect the local environment and circumstances.

    SEND and disability – Child protection policies should reflect the fact that there can be additional barriers to recognising abuse and neglect in children with special educational needs.

    Recruitment – The majority of school staff will require an enhanced DBS check with barred list information as they will be engaging in ‘regulated activity’. Schools must keep a single central record (SCR) to demonstrate they have carried out the mandatory pre-appointment checks.

    Emergency contact numbers – The revisions recommend that schools and colleges hold more than one emergency contact number for each pupil.

    Read a briefing on the key updates from the NSPCC or a comparison of the 2016 and 2018 guidance from LFfL

    Digital Leader Training

    Our digital leader training courses are very popular with secondary, middle, junior and first schools. We run training for two different groups – online safety and computing/technical. Look at the training programme for each to see which you wish to implement first.

    Digital Leaders Schools

    “Through constructive dialogue it encourages pupils, parents/carers, other stakeholders and the wider community to contribute to ongoing developments in e-safeguarding policy and practice, and helps them to deal with e-safeguarding challenges they encounter.” ictmarklogo
    “There is coordinated and robust implementation of e-safeguarding policies by all staff, governors and pupils within and beyond the school and practice is monitored. The school engages regularly with stakeholders to promote the e-safeguarding of pupils and staff within and beyond the school.”360es
    “Young people are themselves involved in e-safety education eg through peer mentoring.”

    Find out more at 

    Brett from Catshill Learning Partnerships came in to school for a day and worked with our year 7, 8 and 9 Digital Leaders in order to help them support the e-safety work we are engaged with. It was a very worthwhile and exciting day; the pupils found the experience meaningful and were able to create some great resources that will help the John Henry Newman community stay safe online. This work was invested back into school life to enable a proper coherent e-safety campaign designed and led by the Digital Leaders using Brett’s expertise.
    Daniel Harvey, Head of Computing, John Henry Newman Catholic College, Solihull

    We were given ideas and questions about The Chantry’s ICT state that were thought provoking and really helpful. Our consultant had great speaking and teaching skills; we learned a lot! He was very enthusiastic and motivational with the pupils and encouraged everyone to contribute! We now have lots of ideas to add to our progression with BYOD in the school. We would definitely recommend Catshill Learning to other Digital Leaders looking for some great training! We are going to keep in touch with Brett and his company and look forward to giving him a checkup on our progress in the future.
    Jan Dowding, Head of Computing, The Chantry School, Worcester and the Digital Leaders Team

    Digital Leaders Report

    Matthew Payne, the chairman of Chantry School Digital Leaders has sent us an update of their activities. If you do not yet have Digital Leaders, find out more here.

    In early February Myself, Ms Dowding and The Digital Leaders of The Chantry School embarked on a journey to a college in Birmingham to attend a Digital Leaders workshop and conference. It gave us the opportunity to share our practices and learn about how other groups work. I presented Trello, which is our collaboration and organisational tool, that other schools found useful to know of.

    Secondary, Middle and Primary schools working at the Digital Leader conference

     Safer Internet Day 2017

    Shortly after the Digital Leader Conference, Safer Internet Day 2017 took place. As we’ve done for two years, I took to the stage and presented assemblies to all year groups throughout the week. I shared advice for what to look out for when speaking to others online and an unfortunate story of a local teenager who took his own life after receiving online bullying for many years even after moving schools two times. The Digital Leaders and I sincerely hope that our message of: “Is it true, is it kind and is it necessary?” will play a larger part in the pupil’s social media activity.

    So as I’m sure you can appreciate, the Digital Leaders have been up to a lot to help make the school more digitally safe! The group is now working hard on getting our messages and knowledge across to parents directly with our Parental Involvement Program. We are now actively working with parents at school events and through our newsletter column and other platforms to help parents understand what their children are doing online.

    Matthew Payne, Chairman of The Digital Leaders, Year 10, Chantry School, Worcester 

    How to set up digital leaders in your school.

    Technical leaders in school

    technical leaders

    Following the successful implementation of online safety ambassadors, Greenfield School in Stourbridge has extended the concept of pupil voice by setting up a digital leaders group. Eight students applied for the position of a digital leader and after successfully completing a training programme the group is able to carry out a range of activities in school. These include:

    • Day to day maintenance of computing hardware
    • Looking after portable devices to ensure they are updated, charged and ready for use
    • Training of teachers to identify and fix common technical issues
    • Check over and tidying of the ICT suite on a daily basis
    • Identifying opportunities for technical development and making hardware recommendations

    Tom Holder, Head of Computing explains why having digital leaders works for Greenfield School:

    “Everyone in schools is benefiting. The self esteem of the children has increased immensely, I am spending less time having to sort out basic faults and our ICT suite is always clean and tidy. We are making fewer calls to the IT helpdesk and an added benefit is that our staff can call upon our digital leaders to support them in the classroom. It has been a win-win for us and our pupils.” 

    Details of the Digital Leader training program

    IPad Prize draw winner

    ipad draw
    Bethan receives her iPad from Brett Laniosh

    Congratulations to Bethan Houston who was the winner of the E-Safety for Parents Prize Draw competition kindly sponsored by Zeus Computers.

    Bethan attended the online safety talk at Sytchampton Primary School near Ombersley in Worcestershire.


    Independent computing, ICT and e-safety consultants providing curriculum support to schools