Well-honed expertise in ICT is applied successfully, both in the subject itself and across the curriculum.

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All boys at The Beacon, from Reception up to Year 8, have specific ICT lessons taught by specialist ICT teachers.  This ensures the maximum development of their skills and creates pupils who are both competent and comfortable in their use of ICT.

For younger boys, the focus is on using ICT to enhance the skills, knowledge and understanding of the pupils in other curriculum areas.  That is to say, ICT lessons are used as an opportunity to explore the topic being covered in history, practice skills learnt in maths, or help the very youngest children practise sequencing and following instructions.

At around Year 4, the focus changes to pupils developing good ICT skills.  From basic file management and keyboard skills to being able to understand formulae in spreadsheets, pupils learn to be in control of what ICT has to offer.  The skills learnt are then used across all curriculum areas to enhance their work and develop their knowledge. 

Pupils are also taught how to use email correctly and efficiently.  In an approach that is somewhat unusual in prep schools, pupils can use email to contact teachers, and vice-versa, as well as, when applicable, pupils contacting other pupils.  Teachers use email to set homework and relay messages to pupils.  Pupils have access to email both on and off site, and it has become integral to the way they operate.

In the senior years, the use of ICT continues to expand.  Pupils are taught to build and manage websites, which are displayed to the outside world.  Every pupil learns how to shoot and edit digital video and they then work together to make short films.  As well as encouraging imagination, pupils rapidly learn presentation skills, and more importantly, how to function as part of a team.

Pupils leave The Beacon, not just knowing where to click, but why they should use ICT, how they should use it, when best to use ICT and how ICT really just enables us all to do things faster, better, and more accurately, although it is not a substitute for teamwork, communication, intelligent thought and hard work.

Stephen Collins
Head of ICT