School wi-fi not fit

19th February 2013

The  BBC has reported today that school wi-fi is not fit for the 21st century.  Out of 250 secondary schools surveyed, only 22% of them had wi-fi in all their classrooms.

How does this affect your choice of school?

  • Some parents still go into schools expecting to see black boards.  All secondary schools these days use inter-active white boards. It is not something that is impressive in itself.
  • Technology in secondary schools has heavy duty use. Schools that can maintain their IT systems have pupils who respect equipment.  You need to ask pupils themselves how regularly tablets, inter-active white boards, and wi-fi are working.
  • Some technology specialist schools ensure they have up to date provision of information technology.
  • Don’t be taken in by high-tech kit on show at open evenings.  Parents are often impressed by rows of computers.  You need to ask pupils how often they use information technology in their lessons to help their learning.
  • Sometimes, the most exciting IT work in schools goes on during extra-curricular activities.  Find out whether the school has a computer club, or whether pupils enter IT competitions. Sometimes, pupils run computer programming clubs themselves, which is a good sign.
  • In some secondary schools, pupils often know far more about computers than they are being taught.  Ask pupils if IT lessons are exciting, or are they just learning about different fonts?
  • State secondary schools will always be behind the curve regarding high speed wi-fi, and up to date equipment.  It is just too expensive.  What you need to find out is how innovative and forward thinking the IT department and IT technicians are. Are they always looking for exciting ways to keep pupils up to date with the IT demands of the 21st century?
  • Secondary schools sometimes find it difficult to recruit IT teachers. If you are brilliant at IT, you could earn a lot more doing something else.  At open evening, try and speak to the head of IT. Do they impress you?  Ask the pupils about the head of IT.  Does he or she impress them?

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