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Improving the use of ICT in Foundation Stage case study: Oxfordshire

  • Date: Feb 2007
  • Focus: Using ICT to capture children’s learning in order to plan the next steps for children, and to record the learning in a format that can be shared with practitioners, parents and other professionals.
  • Number in series: 14
  • Phase: Early Years
  • Key stage: Foundation Stage
  • Local authority: Oxfordshire

Project overview

Oxfordshire’s project used ICT to capture children’s learning in order to plan the next steps for children, and to record this learning in a format that could be shared with practitioners, parents and other professionals. Video conferencing was used, along with digital moviemaker cameras and laptops. The written case studies, illustrated by some video clips, take place in a nursery school and a reception class.



The project involved six settings, all from the maintained sector. A lead practitioner was directly supported in each setting with additional members of staff also attending training.

The settings were selected to provide a diverse range in terms of previous ICT experience.


Name Type of setting Previous ICT experience
A Medium sized nursery some prior use
B Large nursery mixed experience
C Large nursery mixed experience
D Foundation Stage class in medium sized primary school little prior experience
E Foundation/Year 1 class in a small primary school some prior experience
F Foundation Stage unit in a large primary school mixed experience

To enable the six settings to take part in the project, each setting was provided with:

  • a computer
  • software for use in the project
  • a camera for video conferencing
  • a digital movie maker for settings E and F (which did not already own them).

The ICT advisory teacher held an initial meeting with each setting followed by either three or four further visits to provide training and discuss progress. In addition a final meeting to share findings and evaluate the success of the project was held for a practitioner from each of the settings, for which half a day’s supply cover was paid.

At the initial meeting current assessment practices were discussed, including whether ICT was used as part of those practices. The findings from these meetings were as follows.

  • In all of the settings digital photographs were used to provide evidence for steps in the Foundation Stage profile.
  • Two settings had used sound recording.
  • Three settings had experimented in limited ways with the use of digital video, but it did not form part of their assessment practices.

Practitioners in all of the settings were keen to develop the use of digital video for assessment and several were particularly clear about how they could use digital video to support one or more of their existing development initiatives.

To enable participation in the project, due to the varied range of previous experience in using digital video, different training was required in each of the settings. In addition the short timescale of the enquiry meant that it was more beneficial to provide focussed support to each setting, rather than providing centralised training.

  • Three settings had never seen or used the digital movie makers before so their training needs were greater.
  • Two settings, where the ICT coordinator was already confident in their use of ICT, embarked on their own exploration with using the digital movie maker.
  • Between one and four practitioners in the other four settings received training about how to take, save and edit video clips using a digital movie maker.
  • In five of the settings training was received to support the use of video conferencing equipment, however due to the short timescales only four of the settings have so far been able to use the equipment.