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
  • ensure the market develops products and services that meet the needs of the education and skills sector and provide value for money
  • help plan for tomorrow's world.

Becta provided rigorous research and evaluation to evaluate the impact of technology on the education and skills system. It provided expert, independent advice to

  • help the front line make informed choices about technology and plan, buy and use it effectively
  • help learners and their families access technology, become involved in learning and stay safe online
  • 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
  • improve teaching and learning
  • share best practice.

Becta closed 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:

  • policy development, liaison and support function – will transfer to DfE. This includes the provision of advice to policy leads and ministers on e-safety, and the promotion of e-safety issues and effective strategies.
  • research and analysis function – will transfer to DfE, and the Institute of Education (IOE) will host the research on a non-exclusive basis, 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.
  • leading on the development of relationships with private and public sector suppliers and the function of nationally negotiating favourable pricing. The Department has recently signed a formal six-month extension to the current Microsoft MoU, which 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.
  • 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 be found in the ICT section of this site.
  • three functions focused on national standards and authentication
  • 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. General information about the ICT Mark is available at the Naace website.
  • maintenance and development of the Information Management Strategy framework and online tool, to reflect legal, technical and practice developments

Where these activities continue to address the relevant FE and Skills aspects – in particular e-safety, the ICT Services Framework, information management and technical standards – DfE and BIS will work together to ensure appropriate coverage. DfE and BIS will continue to liaise about research into the use of technology in education and training.

Three specific functions concerned with good practice in the FE and Skills sector and the support of leaders and managers in their use of technology, have been transferred to the Learning & Skills Improvement Service (LSIS):

Information about the LSIS responsibility for these functions can be found through the LSIS Excellence Gateway.

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

The Secretary of State’s message to the final meeting of the Becta Board is available to download.