London Metropolitan University Research Institutes


Technology and School Improvement: Reducing social inequity with technology?

Funded by:



August 2007 - March 2008

Aims of the research:

IPSE was commissioned by BECTA to investigate the influence of technology on the reduction of social inequity in schools. This research project aimed to explore what characterises ‘turned around’ or recently improving schools, and the role technology may have played in their improvement. It also set out to investigate the potential for the use of technology to reduce inequities in pupil performance in these schools, specifically the possibility for the use of technology to improve the achievement, behaviour, attendance and aspirations of more disadvantaged learners.

What we did:

We analysed questionnaires returned by 181 of the 356 schools removed from Special Measures or Notice to Improve by Ofsted during 2006-7; analysed school attainment data; interviewed 32 key staff in 25 schools which had identified that technology had played a part in their improvement, and spoke with pupils in groups.


Key Findings:

ICT and school improvement:

This research found no direct link between using ICT and raising levels of attainment, or a narrowing of the attainment gap between certain disadvantaged pupils and others (based on Free School Meals) at this stage in the schools’ progress. However, there is evidence that technology provides an essential tool in facilitating change, improving school effectiveness and functioning, and providing evidence of pupil progress. The research also suggests an indirect influence of ICT on pupils learning, not through direct links with learning in each subject, but via improved self esteem, engagement and desire to learn.

Knowing who is underachieving:

• Schools believed that ICT had enabled them to monitor pupils’ achievement, progress and attendance more effectively and efficiently

Involving Parents:

• Schools felt that a multi faceted approach to communication with parents, which also involved much face to face communication, is more appropriate and inclusive in communities where access to technology is patchy and uneven.

Engaging disadvantaged pupils in their learning:

• ICT was seen to offer a wider range of learning strategies enabling a more equal provision of education to different types of pupils

• The visual and interactive nature of ICT was seen to raise motivation among ‘disengaged’ learners, having a knock on effect on attainment and behaviour (staff particularly identified boys and pupils with SEN).

• ICT was also seen to provide more flexible approaches to learning allowing pupils to work more independently and facilitating extending learning beyond the school and classroom.

• Use of technology was often accompanied by a more applied and project-based approach to learning which was seen to engage students by connecting their learning with future employability.

Investment in new technologies in schools were seen by staff to have a positive impact on pupils’ views about their school and consequently their learning. ICT was also often instrumental in providing a platform for pupils to communicate their views about their school.



Project team:

Nicola Rollock
Sumi Hollingworth
Alistair Ross
Kuyok Abol Kuyok
Katya Williams
Kim Allen
Jocelyn Robson


Sumi Hollingworth -


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