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As a former Inspector I would echo Seb's comments regarding insufficient emphasis on integrating ICT into the inspection regime. This, coupled with a lack of training for inspectors in what to expect from well-planned deployment of ICT in support of learning, has meant that most inspection reports either make only fleeting reference to a school's ICT provision, or praise a development that is well behind the leading edge.

My own experience of VLEs in colleges mirrors that reported by OFSTED. Most often they become repositories for all the notes, worksheets, powerpoints that a lecturer has ever produced for a unit or course, rather than an organiser for learning.

And I fear that Seb is overkind to Glow. The potential is there, but in some LAs not much is happening on the ground. Scottish Learning Festivel 2009 might tell us a better story - we hope.

Our experiences of working in and with Colleges and Universities echoes the Oftsed report findings (sadly). The main issues is the time to up-skill academia at all levels - i.e. lack of it. Plus a radical redesign in curriculum to move towards more collaborative active student centred'ness, would help exploit the true potential of a VLE.

Regards Kevin Brace. JISC RSC East Midlands elearning advisor

Thanks for this Seb. It's a great summary, one which I can share with the Leadership team. Its good to have another voice of reason in your corner...... especially when its Ofsted and your talking to SLT. Hindsight bottled.

Kristian - bear in mind that most of the post is copy and paste from the Ofsted report. The bit in brackets is the only "synthesis" on my part. Cheers, Seb.

Seb, I must disagree with your comment that this is a "is wide and representative" report. When Becta has repeatedly demanded over the last few years that EVERY school should have a VLE installed by Spring of 2008, how can a survey that only includes two schools be "representative"? [Response from Seb: the dozen schools reviewed of which five are secondary schools are listed by me at the foot of Ray Tolley's comment. Apparently the introduction to the report says that only two secondary schools were covered.]

I discussed some of the reasons for this recently in the TES blog at:


See my entry at entry #14.

My own research some two years ago had responses from almost two hundred schools which identified similar findings. An incredible amount of money has been spent and continues to be spent on installing VLEs into every school. But, as I suggest in the TES response, there has been an almost total failure to provide any enlightened training as to what this 'thing' is for and how it might be used or abused.

The pressure to get Remote Access available to every home is a lofty ideal and the Home Access initiative to subsidise the availability of equipment in homes for every child (according to 'poverty' indexes) is yet further provoking this rush to get VLEs installed.

However, the fundamental error in all of this has been not to involve the real stakeholders in this initiative. Parents, pupils, and ordinary classroom teachers have not been involved in the discussions about the plan to install a VLE in their school.

Again, as I suggest in the TES article, few teachers have been involved in any discussions as to how the VLE will change teaching and learning. For many the VLE is something of an elephant being explored by a group of blindfolded people. Only when the blindfolds are taken off and people are able to put together all the different aspects of their discoveries will we be able to begin to use the VLE efficiently.

See more of my discussion of VLEs on my website, or my e-Portfolio blog at www.efoliointheuk.blogspot.com.

Ray - I'm confused by your long comment that only 2 schools were included.

This is the list of schools covered.

All Saints C of E Junior School, Fleet
Bridgewater High School, Warrington
Castle Hill St Philip's C of E Primary School, Wigan
Hamble Primary School, Hampshire
Hilbre High School, Wirral
Lincoln Gardens Primary School, North Lincs,
Lynn Grove VA High School, Norfolk*
Parkside Pupil Referral Unit, Ipswich*
The Compton School, Barnet
Sir William Borlase's Grammar School, Marlow*
St. Philip’s Catholic Primary and Nursery School, Leeds
St Joseph's Catholic Primary School, Seaham, County Durham

Those with * were reviewed remotely, it seems.


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