Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is more than just another teaching tool.  Its potential for improving the quality of pupils’ learning and the standards that they achieve is significant.  Equally, its potential is considerable for supporting teachers, both in their everyday classroom role, for example by reducing the time occupied by the administration associated with it, and in their continuing training and development.  With the introduction of the National Grid for Learning, it becomes even more important for all teachers to be confident and competent in using ICT effectively in their teaching.


This document sets out the expected outcomes for teachers participating in the NOF-funded ICT training initiative.  It is based on the standards required of all newly qualified teachers.


The principal aim of the ICT training based on these expected outcomes is to equip teachers with the necessary knowledge, skills and understanding to make sound decisions about when, when not, and how to use ICT effectively in teaching particular subjects.  Although this document applies to all teachers, the knowledge, understanding and skills required will differ between specialisms, subjects or phases.  Some examples are given in this document to illustrate particular points, but it is the responsibility of the Approved Training Provider to ensure that training is firmly rooted within the relevant subject and phase, rather than teaching how to use ICT generically or as an end in itself.


This document covers the wide range of ICT now available, e.g. computers, the Internet, CD-ROM and other software, television and radio, video, cameras and other equipment.  While it is recognised that many teachers will also be responsible for developing pupils’ IT capability, that is not the focus of this document.


For teachers of pupils up to the age of 11, the expected outcomes apply to:

·   English,

·   mathematics,

·   science,

·   the compulsory contributory subjects of the Northern Ireland Curriculum,

·   and where relevant, Welsh.


Particular emphasis should be given to how ICT can support the teaching of literacy and numeracy in England, and the School Improvement Programme in Northern Ireland.


For teachers of pupils aged 11 and above, the expected outcomes apply to their specialist subject(s) from English, mathematics, science, history, geography, modern foreign languages, design & technology, information technology, music, art, physical education, religious education, business studies/economics, Irish and Welsh.


Every attempt has been made to “future-proof” the content of this document, but ICT is changing rapidly and it will be necessary to keep these outcomes under close review.  The use of jargon and technical language has been avoided, but the correct terminology has been used where appropriate.


The expected outcomes are described in two sections.


Section A



This section focuses on teaching and assessment methods that have a particular relevance to the use of ICT in subject teaching.  Teachers must have opportunities to practise, in the classroom, those methods and skills described in this section and to discuss their progress with trainers and with their peers.

Section B



This section sets out the knowledge and understanding of, and competence with, ICT necessary to support effective teaching.  Teachers should become competent in using this knowledge in their subject teaching.  Approved training providers will decide how best to incorporate the content of Section B into the training.  However, while some of the content may require distinct training, most should be integrated with aspects of section A.



The expected outcomes do not attempt to cover everything that teachers need to know if they are to use ICT effectively in their subject teaching.  Approved training providers may include other aspects of ICT, which are not specified, in relation to particular subjects.


The expected outcomes do not prescribe the way in which providers deliver the training, nor specify the materials or activities which should be used as part of the training.  However, training must meet the requirements set out in the specification for the approval of training providers.  Providers should devise training which is coherent, intellectually stimulating, professionally challenging and related to teachers’ roles and responsibilities.


It is important to guard against an over-interpretation of the content of this document which would set expectations which are beyond what is realistic or manageable, e.g. in Section B, the content listed in paragraph 11 should be interpreted at a level appropriate for a general ICT user and not at a level which would be required by a network or system manager.  The content specified should therefore be interpreted at a level which supports effective teaching by any non-ICT specialist.

Teachers should develop the knowledge and skills necessary to access and exploit, electronically, the information and sources which will support their continuing professional development including the National Grid for Learning.  Training should provide the foundations from which teachers can continue to keep up to date with ICT and its application to subject pedagogy, in order to enhance their teaching skills, stimulate pupils’ intellectual curiosity and raise pupils’ standards of achievement.  Teachers should have the opportunities to apply, in a sustained way, in the classroom the knowledge, understanding and skills set out in this document.


Throughout the document, the examples printed in italics are for clarification only.  The numbers and letters throughout the specification are for reference purposes only, and do not necessarily indicate a particular sequence or hierarchy of knowledge, skills and understanding.




In England and Wales, this document corresponds closely to the knowledge, understanding and skills expected of all newly qualified teachers in the future, as set out in the Initial Teacher Training National Curriculum for the use of information and communications technology in subject teaching.


In Northern Ireland, the two sections of this document correspond closely to the teacher competences in education technology laid out in Annex 5 of the Northern Ireland Strategy for Education Technology:


Personal Competence:                           Section B11

Subject Competence:                             Sections B12-17 inclusive

Teaching Competence:                          Sections A1-9 inclusive


Section B10 describes the overarching ability of teachers to evaluate their own application of education technology in the classroom.  The teacher competence model in Northern Ireland anticipates that teachers will develop personal skills in a minimum of four basic ICT tools, including word-processing, electronic communications and data-handling, in addition to one which is chosen by the teachers and is relevant to the age range of the pupils they teach and their specialist subject(s).  Section A is also relevant to the focus on education technology which beginning teachers are expected to take in relation to their early professional development.










1.         Teachers should know when the use of ICT is beneficial to achieve teaching objectives in the subject and phase, and when the use of ICT would be less effective or inappropriate.  In making these decisions, they should know how to take account of the functions of ICT and the ways that these can be used by teachers in achieving subject teaching and learning objectives.  This includes:


a.    how the speed and automatic functions of ICT can enable teachers to demonstrate, explore or explain aspects of their teaching, and pupils’ learning, more effectively;

b.    how the capacity and range of ICT can enable teachers and pupils to gain access to historical, recent or immediate information;


c.    how the provisional nature of information stored, processed and presented using ICT allows work to be changed easily;


d.    how the interactive way in which information is stored, processed and presented can enable teachers and pupils to explore models, communicate effectively with others and present and represent information effectively for different audiences.


Teachers should understand the implications of these functions for achieving teaching objectives in the relevant subject(s), e.g. in mathematics and science, the use of a calculator or a spreadsheet may remove the tedium of repetitive calculations and enable pupils to focus their attention on an emerging numerical pattern or the relationship between successive readings.  However, teachers should be aware that, in this example, pupils’ skills in mental or written calculation are not being developed and therefore the activity may not suit the particular teaching objectives in hand.


[Further details of the functions of ICT are given in section B13]


2.         Teachers should know how to use ICT effectively to achieve subject-related objectives, including:


a.    using ICT because it is the most effective way to achieve teaching and learning objectives, not simply for motivation, reward or sanction;


b.    avoiding the use of ICT for simple or routine tasks which would be better accomplished by other means;


c.    where ICT is to be used, what appropriate preparation of equipment, content and methodology is required;


d.    avoiding giving the impression that the quality of presentation is of overriding importance and supersedes the importance of content;


e.    structuring pupils’ work to focus on relevant aspects and to maximise use of time and resource, e.g. teaching pupils to refine searches rather than allowing pupils to search freely on the Internet or on CD-ROM;


f.     having high expectations of the outcomes of pupils’ work with ICT, including:


§ expecting pupils to use ICT to answer valid questions appropriate to the subject matter being taught;

§ when appropriate, requiring pupils to save work, and evaluate and improve it;


g.         making explicit the links between the ICT application and the subject matter it is being used to teach as well as the impact of ICT on everyday applications.


3.         For those aspects of lessons where ICT is to be used, teachers should be able to identify in their planning:


a.         the way(s) in which ICT will be used to meet teaching and learning objectives in the subject;


b.         key questions to ask and opportunities for teacher intervention in order to stimulate and direct pupils’ learning;


c.         the way(s) in which pupils’ progress will be assessed and recorded;


d.         criteria to ensure that judgments about pupils’ attainment and progress in the subject are not masked because ICT has been used;


e.         any impact of the use of ICT on the organisation and conduct of the subject lesson and how this is to be managed;


f.          how the ICT used is appropriate to the particular subject-related objectives in hand and to pupils’ capabilities, taking account of the fact that some pupils may already be very competent, e.g. because of home access or through participation in extra-curricular activities, and some may need additional support.


4.         Teachers should know how to organise classroom ICT resources effectively to meet learning objectives in the subject, including how to:


a.         use ICT with the whole class or a group for introducing or reviewing a topic and ensuring that all pupils cover the key conceptual features of the topic, e.g. through the use of a single screen or display;


b.         organise individuals, pairs or groups of children working with ICT to ensure that each participant is engaged, that collaborative effort is balanced, and that teacher intervention and reporting back by pupils takes place where appropriate;


c.         make ICT resources available to pupils for research or other purposes which may arise either spontaneously during lessons or as part of planned activity, ensuring that the resource is used productively to achieve subject-related objectives;


d.         position resources for ease of use, to minimise distraction, and with due regard to health and safety;


e.         ensure that work done using ICT is integrated with other work, allowing ICT to support teaching rather than dominate activities, e.g. providing sufficient desk/floor space around the hardware to enable the ICT to be used with other materials; providing space to write as well as input from the keyboard; positioning ICT so that pupils are able to sit facing the teacher when required.


5.         Teachers should be able to recognise the specific contribution that ICT can make to teaching pupils with special educational needs in mainstream classrooms based upon the need to provide access to the curriculum in a manner appropriate to pupils’ needs and to identify where ICT can provide subject-specific support.


6.         Teachers should be able to choose and use the most suitable ICT to meet teaching objectives, by reviewing a range of generic and subject-specific software critically.


7.         Teachers should know how to contribute to the development and consolidation of pupils’ IT capability within the context of the subject being taught through:


a.         explicit discussion and, where necessary, teaching of the IT skills and applications which are used in the subject;


b.         using terminology accurately and appropriately, and explaining to pupils any terminology which arises from the application of IT to the subject;


c.         using ICT in ways which provide models of good practice for pupils, and ensuring that pupils employ correct procedures when using applications.


8.         Teachers should understand how to monitor and assess pupils’ learning in the subject when ICT is being used, and how to evaluate the contribution that ICT has made to the teaching of their subject(s).  They should be able to:


a.         monitor pupils’ progress by:


i.          being clear about teaching objectives and the use of ICT in achieving them;


ii.          observing and intervening in pupils’ ICT-based activities to monitor and support their progression towards the identified objectives;


iii.         asking key questions which require pupils to reflect on the appropriateness of their use of ICT;


b.         recognise standards of attainment in the subject when ICT resources are used, including:


i.          recognising how access to computer functions might change teacher expectation of pupil achievements, e.g. automatic spell-checking, image-making, graphical representation;


ii.          identifying criteria by which pupils can show what they have learnt as a result of using ICT-based resources from the Internet or CD-ROM, and insisting that pupils acknowledge the reference sources used in their work e.g. requiring pupils to interpret and present the information gained from a CD-ROM for a specific purpose rather than simply cutting and pasting and/or printing off information;


iii.         how to determine the achievement of individuals when the “product” is the result of a collaborative effort, for example, through observation, record keeping, teacher intervention and pupil-teacher dialogue;


iv.         how to ensure that assessment of ICT-based work reflects pupils’ learning and the quality of their work within the subject(s) rather than just the quality of presentation or the complexity of the technology used;


c.         use formative, diagnostic and summative methods of assessing pupils’ progress in the subject where ICT has been used, including how to set up ICT activities with targeted objectives for assessment and make provision in those activities for all pupils to demonstrate achievement, conceptual understanding and learning through the use of ICT.


9.         In addition, teachers of pupils aged 3-5 should understand the importance of introducing pupils in nursery and reception classes to the use of ICT and recognise the contribution that ICT can make to this age group, including how to:


a.         encourage pupils to become familiar with ICT and positive users of it;


b.         ensure that all pupils have opportunities to use ICT, and that their experience takes account of any home use or other previous experience of ICT;


c.         identify and teach the skills necessary for handling input devices effectively, e.g. switches, mouse, keyboard;


d.         use ICT to support the development of language and literacy, through the use of programs which develop reading and writing, e.g. to reinforce letter/sound correspondence, and encourage pupils to engage with stories, songs and rhymes presented on the screen, as well as through the use of high quality educational broadcasts;


e.         use ICT to support the development of numeracy through the use of computer programs and robots which develop and reinforce the use of mathematical language, and the recognition and exploration of numbers, simple mental operations and patterns;


f.          use ICT to support pupils’ creative development through the use of computer programs which encourage them to explore and experiment with pattern, shape, pictures, sound and colour;


g.         encourage pupils working collaboratively with ICT to share responsibilities for making decisions and reaching conclusions, e.g. as they progress through a simple computer adventure game.



Knowledge, understanding and skills in using ICT in subject teaching


For many teachers, their own knowledge and understanding of ICT may not be sufficient to ensure that they understand how to use ICT in ways which support good teaching, including, for example, good pace, challenge, questioning and high expectations of pupils.  They may not be sufficiently competent or confident in using ICT to secure progress in pupils’ learning within the phase and in the subject(s) they teach.  It is likely that most teachers will be familiar with more traditional forms of ICT, e.g. television, video, tape-recorders, and will have experience of using them in teaching.  The content of Section B, therefore, gives greater emphasis to computer-related ICT because it is new, and because teachers’ knowledge, understanding and skills in this area will vary considerably.


10.       In relation to the ICT content set out in paragraphs 11 to 18, teachers should be able to:

a.         evaluate a range of information and communication technologies, and the content associated with them, justifying the selection and use of ICT in relation to aspects of their planning, teaching, assessment and class management, including for personal professional use, e.g. in downloading on-line materials for teaching or writing reports; 

b.         understand and use correctly the specialist terms associated with the ICT used in the subject which are necessary to enable them to be precise in their explanations to pupils, to discuss ICT in relation to the subject at a professional level, and to read inspection and classroom-focused research evidence with understanding.


The relevance of different aspects of the content specified below will depend on the subjects and ages of the pupils being taught.  Each teacher should develop the following knowledge, understanding and skills in ICT relevant to the age range of the pupils they teach and their specialist subject(s).


11.       Teachers should be competent in those areas of ICT which support pedagogy in every subject, including that they:


a.         can employ common ICT tools for their own and pupils’ benefit, e.g. word processing, e-mail, presentation software, data handling and can use a range of ICT resources, at the level of general users (rather than as network or system managers), including:

i.          the common user interfaces, using menus, selecting and swapping between applications, cutting, pasting and copying files, and cutting copying and pasting data within and between applications;

ii.          successfully connecting and setting up ICT equipment, including input devices, e.g. a mouse, touch screen, overlay keyboard, microphone and output devices e.g. printers, screens and loudspeakers;

iii.         loading and running software e.g. a CD-ROM;

iv.         file management e.g. organising documents and folders;

v.         seeking and using operating information, including from on-line help facilities and user guides;

vi.         coping with everyday problems and undertaking simple, routine maintenance, with due consideration to health and safety;

vii.        understanding the importance of passwords and the general security of equipment and access to it.

b.         know and understand the characteristics of information, including:

i.          that information must be evaluated in terms of its accuracy, validity, reliability, plausibility, bias;

ii.          that information has to be stored somewhere, it takes up memory (storage space) and that there are implications when saving and compressing files;

iii.         that ICT systems can present static information or changing information;

iv.         that information can be directly and dynamically linked between applications;

v.         that applications and information can be shared with other people at remote locations.

12.       Teachers should, in relation to the relevant subject and age(s) of pupils:

a.         know how to use ICT to find things out, including:

i.          identifying sources of information and discriminating between them;

ii.          planning and putting together a search strategy, including framing useful questions, widening and narrowing down searches;

iii.         how to search for information, including using key words and strings and logical operators such as AND, OR and NOT, indexes and directories;

iv.         collecting and structuring data and storing it for later retrieval, interpretation and correction;

v.         interpreting what is retrieved;

vi.         considering validity, reliability and reasonableness of outcomes;

b.         know how to use ICT to try things out, make things happen and understand how they happen, including:

i.          exploring alternatives;

ii.          modelling relationships;

iii.         considering cause and effect;

iv.         predicting patterns and rules recognising patterns, and hypothesising;

v.         knowing how to give instructions;

vi.         sequencing actions;

vii.        defining conditions e.g. “if this happens, do that..”;

viii.       understanding how feedback works and the difference between things that do and do not rely on feedback;


c.         know how to use ICT to communicate and exchange ideas:

i.           presenting ideas, including: identification of audience and purpose; deciding the best means with which to communicate;

ii.          exchanging ideas, including identifying the most appropriate medium, and information.


13.       Teachers should know those features of ICT which can be used, separately or together, to support teaching and learning in the relevant subject(s) and phase, including:

a.         speed and automatic functions - the function of ICT which enables routine tasks to be completed and repeated quickly, allowing the user to concentrate on thinking and on tasks such as analysing and looking for patterns within data, asking questions and looking for answers, and explaining and presenting results, as appropriate to the subject(s) and age of pupils taught, including how ICT can be used to:

i.           measure events at long or short time intervals in order to compress or expand events which would normally take very short or long periods of time, and illustrate them to pupils at speeds appropriate to their pace of learning;

ii.          measure and record events which might otherwise be impossible to gather within a classroom environment;

iii.         explore sequences of actions and link the sensing of events with the control of actions;


b.         capacity and range - the function of ICT, as appropriate to the subject(s) and age of pupils to be taught, to access and to handle large amounts of information; change timescales, or remove barriers of distance; give teachers and pupils access to and control over situations which would normally be outside their everyday experience, including:

i.           the range of forms in which ICT can present information;

ii.          the range of possible appropriate ICT sources, including local sources such as CD-ROM, and remote databases such as the Internet and the National Grid for Learning;

iii.         how to judge the accuracy of the information and the credibility of its source;

iv.         how ICT can be used to gain access to expertise outside the classroom, the school and the local community through communications with experts;


c.         provisionality - the function of ICT which allows changes to be made easily and enables alternatives to be explored readily, and as appropriate to the subject(s) and age of pupils taught:

i.           how to make best use of the ability to make rapid changes, including how to create text, designs and models which may be explored and improved in the light of evaluation;

ii.          how to judge when and when not to encourage exploration and change using ICT;

iii.         how saving work at different stages enables a record to be kept of the development of ideas;


d.         interactivity - the function of ICT which enables rapid and dynamic feedback and response, as appropriate to the subject(s) and age of pupils taught, including how to determine the most appropriate media to use.

14.       Teachers should understand the potential of ICT to make the preparation and presentation of their teaching more effective, taking account of:


a.         the intended audience, including matching and adapting work to subject matter and objectives, pupils’ prior attainment, reading ability or special educational needs; recognising the efficiency with which such adaptations can be made using ICT;

b.         the most appropriate forms of presentation to meet teaching objectives, e.g. illustrating or explaining using: text; sound; still or moving pictures; live video links; illustrations, graphics or animations; numbers, graphs or charts, separately or in combination.


15.       Teachers should:


a.         in relation to the phase(s) and subject(s) to be taught, understand the IT requirements of the statutory curriculum for pupils and the application of IT as a key skill;


b.         be familiar with expectations of pupils’ IT capability, relevant to the age range of the pupils they teach, and know the level of IT capability they should expect of pupils when applying ICT in the subject(s).



16.         Teachers should know how each of the following is relevant to the age range of the pupils they teach and their specialist subject(s):

a.           generic procedures and tools, including:

i.          understanding the key features and functions used within the subject;

ii           using ICT to prepare material for pupil use;


b.         reference resources, including:

i.          how to search reference resources;

ii           how to incorporate the use of reference resources into teaching;


c.         the information and communications technology specific to the teaching of the subject(s);


d.         the contribution made by ICT to the professional, commercial and industrial applications of their subject(s);

e.         the major teaching programs or “courseware” to ensure that material is matched to the pupils’ capabilities:

i.           where content and activities are presented in sequence to teach specific topics;

ii.          where teaching activities are combined with assessment tasks and tests.


17.       Teachers should be aware of:


a.         the current health and safety legislation relating to the use of computers, and be able to identify potential hazards and minimise risks;


b.         legal considerations, including those related to:

i.          keeping personal information on computers, as set out in the Data Protection Act;

ii.          copyright legislation relating to text, images and sounds and that relating to copying software;

iii.         material which is illegal in this country;

c.         ethical issues including:

i.          access to illegal and/or unsuitable material through the Internet;

ii.          acknowledging sources;

iii.         confidentiality of personal data;

iv.         the ways in which users of information sources can be (and are) monitored;

v.         material which may be socially or morally unacceptable.



18.       Teachers should know how to use ICT to improve their own professional efficiency and to reduce administrative and bureaucratic burdens, including:

a.         using ICT to aid administration, record-keeping, analysis, reporting and transfer of information;

b.         knowing about current classroom-focused research and inspection evidence about the application of ICT to teaching their specialist subject(s), and where it can be found;

c.         knowing how to use ICT to join in professional discussions and to locate and access teaching plans, material and other sources of help and support, including through the National Grid for Learning;

d.         knowing how ICT can support them in their continuing professional development.