Ofsted ICT in education eBook – Chapter 4: Quality of the curriculum in ICT

In recent weeks we’ve been serialising the individual chapters of our Ofsted ICT in education eBook. We’re now about to look at chapter four – Quality of the curriculum in ICT - but if you’ve missed any of the preceding three chapters or you want to revisit any parts of the eBook at your own pace, it is available in its entirety:


Chapter 4: Quality of the curriculum in ICT

Outstanding Curriculum

Here, Outstanding practice is marked a curriculum, which is imaginative, stimulating, and, importantly, is matched to the full range of student needs. There’s careful attention to continuity and progression, and to breadth and balance, with all areas covered well for all pupils, not only in ICT lessons but also across the school curriculum. ICT is taught in contexts which make it relevant to their lives and which reflect the way ICT is used in business and industry. This means there will be excellent links with other agencies and the wider community, managed so as to further enrich student learning and engagement. This may include ICT based clubs, and visits to see ICT in action, as well as presentations by ICT professionals from beyond the school. The curriculum is rigorously planned, with full attention to the spiritual, moral and cultural aspects of students’ lives. Throughout their work, students will show that they know and understand fully how to stay safe with technology.

“... a curriculum which is imaginative, stimulating, and, importantly, is matched to the full range of student needs.“

MSFT logoHow Microsoft can contribute

Office 365 + OneNote provides the basis for the curriculum and supports the use of technology in all areas through the deployment of sites and workbooks for students. Resources can be stored for access at any time and hand-in folders can track work and enable staff to organise classwork. School timetables can be linked to homework diaries. Office 2013 allows students and teachers to move seamlessly between local and cloud based resources, removing the need to save and upload resources or assignments to the cloud based platform.

School Clubs can have a site page within SharePoint with control of these pages handed down to students to manage and develop.

Curriculum planning is made efficient and effective by collaborative and planning tools such as OneNote, Lync and SharePoint. Meetings become purposeful and inclusive, decisions and consultations are broad – based, and all criteria are covered.

Combining Windows devices with OneNote on a field trip is a great way to provide students with interactive learning material as they walk around. Imagine a history trip to a castle, students are looking at pictures or videos in OneNote relevant to the period in time, making notes based on evidence they find or unlocking secrets by being asked to locate a certain picture in the castle and then make notes on the inscription underneath.

The Video channel within Office 365 provides schools with the ability to have a curated resource for students and staff. Today YouTube is one of the most used search engines reflecting the way students find information. Videos could be taken from the web, created using Office Mix to provide learning objectives, or simple how-to guides for revision. When providing feedback to students within OneNote links can be provided to videos to help improve understanding of a particular topic. The video channel can also be used to support extracurricular activity, maybe a school TV station or music video channel.

The rise of social media has connected people in new and exciting ways, enabling us to communicate instantly and discover greater connections with information. Yammer is a Facebook–like social networking tool integrated within Office 365. The enterprise grade features offer schools the opportunity to harness the power of social networking. Students can gain comprehensive knowledge and understanding of how to stay safe. It can be used to enhance the curriculum and support revision through peers helping others. Project work can take on a more social context and be developed by the wider group.

Social networking is about more than just communicating with others. It is about connecting people with information. Delve, within Office 365, connects users with information, resources they are following, or resources which are popular with peers. This is great way for students to find things, which would normally be hidden from them. Delve uses the machine learning service in Azure to enable it to personalise information to the student and teacher, improving personalised learning and enhancing the sharing of best practice.

Windows based devices support the widest range of peripherals, from Raspberry Pi to robots and sensor systems. Science lessons can take advantage of existing sensor sets.

Skype in the Classroom is a fantastic resource to enhance and deepen understanding of subjects by engaging a class with industry or subject experts. You could have a guest speaker from Microsoft to discuss computer science or use Skype to provide lesson content on exploring the planet.

Cross curricular enhancements could come from Drama students playing the part of passengers on the Titanic and being interviewed by history students.

Skype translator can translate foreign languages in real-time giving students the opportunity to interact with others from around the world.

“Social networking is about more than just communicating with others.”

The provision of Computer Science within the curriculum affords schools the opportunity to not only enhance student knowledge but connect them with the world of work by giving them access to real world qualifications through IT Academy.

Microsoft’s industry standard technologies, familiar and in use across the world, are made available to schools in ways that are highly affordable. This makes it possible for students and teachers to collaborate and communicate seamlessly with local businesses and agencies, engaging with real challenges.

Teacher Testimonial:

Jonathan Bishop, of Broadclyst Primary, talks about Office 365, OneNote and Lync for planning across three schools:

“It all allows us very powerful collaboration – three different schools, talking to each other, using Lync, sharing desktops, working on tasks together and publishing to OneNote.” “Social networking is about more than just communicating with others.”


The fifth and final chapter of this eBook will be published next week. If you’ve missed any of the blogs covering the first three chapters of ‘Ofsted ICT in education: Power and flexibility for students and teachers’, you can find them here:

Ofsted ICT in education eBook – Chapter 1: The effectiveness of ICT learning in schools
Ofsted ICT in education eBook – Chapter 2: The achievement of pupils in ICT
Ofsted ICT in education eBook – Chapter 3: Quality of Teaching in ICT

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