Becta was the government agency leading the national drive to ensure the effective and innovative use of technology throughout learning. It was established in 1997, building on a predecessor organisation NCET, National Council for Educational Technology.

Becta provided leadership

  • to embed the effective use of technology across the system in the most coherent, cost-effective way now and for the future
  • to ensure the market develops products and services that meet the needs of the education and skills sector and provide value for money
  • to help plan for tomorrow's world.

Becta provided rigorous research and evaluation

  • to evaluate the impact of technology on the education and skills system.

Becta provided expert, independent advice

  • to help the front line make informed choices about technology and plan, buy and use it effectively
  • to help learners and their families access technology, get involved in learning and stay safe online
  • to ensure government policy takes full account of the opportunities and challenges technology brings.

Becta provided practical tools for the front line

  • to save time and money
  • to improve teaching and learning
  • to share best practice.

Becta closes formally on 31 March 2011.

There is a commitment by the Department for Education (DfE) and Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) to continue key areas of Becta's work. Arrangements are now in place to transfer the following functions and services: 

  • The policy development, liaison and support function will transfer to DfE. This includes the provision of advice to policy leads and to ministers on e-safety and ISP accreditation standards, and the promotion of e-safety issues and effective strategies.
  • The research and analysis function will transfer to DfE, and the Institute of Education (IOE) will be hosting the research on a non-exclusive basis and ensuring its ongoing availability to a broad range of educators and researchers. The IOE has a strong strategic commitment to help researchers build on Becta’s research legacy with the support of London Knowledge Lab and links to the broader technology enhanced learning community.
  • The function leading on the development of relationships, with private and public sector suppliers, along with a function focusing on nationally negotiating favourable pricing. The Department has recently signed a formal six-month extension to the current Microsoft MoU that enables UK schools to access preferential educational software pricing. This extension runs until 30 June 2011 and the Department intends to use this period to negotiate a new successor MoU arrangement with Microsoft on behalf of UK schools.
  • The ICT Services Framework function, which includes the development of future frameworks and support for ongoing ones. Details of the framework suppliers announced in autumn 2010, along with details of other frameworks can now be found in this section.
  • Three functions focused on national standards and authentication.
  • The development and maintenance of the online self-review framework evaluation tool for schools. This function will also manage external grant/contract for ICT Mark administration and promotion. Schools who wish to apply for an ICT Mark assessment can do so by using the online booking form.
  • The maintenance and development of the Information Management Strategy framework and online tool, to reflect legal, technical and practice developments.

The archive of Becta's website and materials can be found on the National Archives.