I spend Wednesday of this week in Cardiff with some of the civil servants who are responsible for the national school ICT agenda in Wales. Kerry, Paul, Keith, Edwin and Debbie were great hosts and I really enjoyed the opportunity to talk around some of the key issues that we are all grappling with.
In educational terms Wales has been very close to England, sharing a ‘National Curriculum’ and a common qualifications framework. However, since devolution the Welsh education system has started to diverge from the English system. The recent announcement that Wales will move to a baccalaureate is a clear indicator of this divergence, especially in the light of England not taking forward the agenda set out by Tomlinson.
The issues we discussed included:
• Our political contexts – what we have in common and what is different
• Our thinking on strategy development for ICT and in particular how to shift the focus onto improving learning rather than the implementation of technologies
• Supporting school and local authorities in self-evaluating progress in integrating ICT into learning and teaching
• The nature of and strategies to deal with the digital divide
• Computer games and learning
• Research priorities
• Getting the best out of UK collaboration
• The Xchange four nations ICT conference
All in all a very worthwhile visit for me and I look forward to strengthening the links between Wales and Scotland and finding future opportunities for mutual support and collaboration.