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Transforming the Learning Environment

Transforming the Learning Environment

Teacher and pupils

21st Century Schools is not just a building programme

The educational aims of the programme link closely with achieving school effectiveness and exploring new and innovative technologies.

Guidance will identify best practice and innovation in the configuration and use of learning environments. For example, there is increasing interest in the use of larger flexible project spaces in schools where teachers and numerous small groups of learners can interact in more informal and creative surroundings, using smart technology.  

There are some exciting and innovative solutions available which will be featured in this section.

A working group is currently developing guidance for the Standard on ICT strategies for schools. It has produced an initial overview, based on BECTA guidance, of key issues for local authorities to address in order to develop a clearly articulated vision for the use of ICT across all schools in Wales, as follows:

  1. The local strategy should be developed in consultation with stakeholders and partners, aligned with the agreed School Effectiveness Framework (SEF) profile, and be focused on improving outcomes for children.
  2. Key features of the authority's ICT strategy should include:
    • appropriate and sustainable investment in connectivity, infrastructure and ICT resources which allow schools:
      • > to deliver learners’ entitlement to use technology in their subject learning, within and beyond the school;
      • > to become more effective organisations and,
      • > to innovate.            
    • action to manage online risks to children, including  published Acceptable Use policies for all schools which are developed in consultation with pupils, parents and staff ;
    • challenge and support for school and subject leaders based upon a good understanding of how ICT can be used to improve teaching, learning and assessment;
    • use of the (BECTA) ICT Self Review Framework with schools and support for schools to obtain - and maintain – ICT Mark accreditation;
    • clear planning for cost-effective, creative and innovative use of ICT across all schools in order to:
      • > deliver a coherent education programme that captures the best online practice for all learners;
      • > extend access to learning beyond the classroom and beyond the school;
      • > promote engagement with parents/carers and the wider community;
      • > support transition across key stages and providers;
      • > promote inclusion and address the needs of all vulnerable groups;
      • > support continuing professional development;
      • > appropriately share information, services and resources;
      • > provide access to advice on future employment and learning pathways;
      • > securely collect and analyse data in order to review learner progress, plan learning pathways and benchmark performance.

The documents below, although prepared for use in England, may act as a useful challenge to existing thinking about teaching and learning in Welsh schools:

1. CABE/RIBA document: illustrates five scenarios for future schools as a stimulus for further thought.

2. The Real Centre, Abingdon case study.

Related links

Projects include primary, secondary and special schools, both new build and refurbished.