Digital Technologies curriculum changes driven by school leaders

Strong school leadership and positive engagement with teachers, students and parents are key to successful implementation of the new Digital Technologies curriculum content, says the Education Review Office (ERO) in a report released today. Schools are required to teach this new content from the beginning of this year to all students from Years 1-10.

ERO Chief Review Officer Nicholas Pole says this shows the value of positive leadership, encouragement for teachers to grow their skill set and a school culture open to learning and innovation. These are especially important when taking on new curriculum requirements.

“School leaders who are open minded about these new ideas and can consider the wider context of their school and the needs of their students as digital technology becomes a bigger part of all our lives have set their schools up for success.”

“There are some great examples of steps school leaders can take, as well as some barriers and enablers which were identified, so I hope this case studies report will provide information schools can use to plan and implement the curriculum content effectively.”

This report follows up on an evaluation completed in 2019 which gave a high-level overview of schools’ awareness and readiness to implement the new content. In the time since the first report, schools have been provided with a number of resources and tools to support them in implementing the new curriculum content. This initial report was able to put schools into three categories in relation to the progress made in implementing Digital Technologies curriculum content. The categories are modelled on the start of a race, ‘on your marks’, ‘get set’ and ‘go’ which relate to each categories state of readiness. These categories were then used to help identify the schools for this follow up report.

The evaluation focused on six English medium schools at varying levels of readiness and found that schools that were best prepared were those whose leadership was open to the change and growth required and were making concerted efforts to engage teachers, students and parents in the process. The new content was given priority in strategic planning, a digital technology leader was identified, and resourcing and professional development were tailored to needs.

School and curriculum leaders who included wider staff in the planning for change made good progress in introducing of Digital Technologies curriculum content into the wider school curriculum. Teachers were positive about developing their own knowledge in order to integrate the new curriculum content into their teaching, and the approach resulted in teachers supporting each other’s practice.

This report is based on research conducted in March and April 2019 and will be followed by individual studies from four of the schools who took part in this evaluation. We except these to be published in 3-4 months.