School leaders are collaborating more closely with their on-the-ground staff this year, according to our annual State of Technology in Education Report. But, not all school staff, it seems—IT managers are feeling increasingly uninformed about their schools’ goals.
For teachers, the gap in strategic knowledge between themselves and SLT members has reduced from half to just over a quarter in 2018. 40% of IT managers, meanwhile, are unaware of their school’s overall strategy, up from 29% the year before.
It would appear there’s a widening collaborative gap between school leaders and technical IT staff. This could be a missed opportunity when schools are claiming to focus more heavily on IT within their overall school goals.
“I feel I have to constantly push the importance of technology for staff to realise the potential and importance of it.”
IT manager, local authority primary school, Yorkshire and Humberside
What role does IT play in schools’ goals?
Technology is increasingly central to schools’ high-level priorities, according to the report.
In 2017, under 19% of deputy and head teachers stated that tech played an integral role in their schools’ strategies. This year, the number jumped to over 27%.
But according to our survey, there is a gap between IT managers’ and school leaders’ perception of the technology within their schools’ strategies; under 30% of IT staff confirmed it was a priority compared to over 60% of heads and deputy heads.
Are IT staff aware of this growing priority?
Despite their technical roles, when asked about their school’s ICT strategy, specifically, 13% fewer IT managers were aware of it than school leaders.
What’s more, when asked about the importance of technology in the achievement of schools’ overall goals, considerably fewer IT managers identified it as playing an integral role.
If schools are planning to make more use of edtech to achieve their overall schools goals, then collaboration and communication with IT staff would be a natural starting point. Yet, the survey results suggest the opposite.
Are schools being proactive with IT?
Despite the intention to be more tech-focused, the majority of IT managers (53.5%) view their school as being ‘somewhat proactive’ towards the educational benefits of technology. Not one IT respondent consider their school to be ‘very proactive’.
Our annual education report has identified that whilst school leaders are collaborating more closely with teaching staff on their upcoming strategic goals, IT managers are feeling increasingly left behind. This is perhaps a missed opportunity when a number of schools claim to view technology as an important vehicle to achieve their future goals, such as raising attainment.