School leadership and school information and communication technology: a literature review

Client: National College for School Leadership | NFER Contact: Peter Rudd

In order to develop a picture of how they might best develop training and skills programmes that will assist school leaders with meeting new sets of ICT related expectations and challenges, the National College for School Leadership (NCSL) commissioned the NFER to conduct a review of what the current literature says about school leaders’ needs and priorities in this area.

Research questions

The two key practical questions that this literature review sought to address were as follows.

Further questions of particular concern were to do with using ICT for management and administration, and for making a contribution to raising standards of achievement.

In addition to addressing these research questions, the reviewers also sought to identify any material that would provide examples of how ICT enhances current strategic thinking and contributes to supporting a variety of current and future educational agendas, including Every Child Matters, the 14-19 reforms, extended schools and the drive towards personalised learning.

Impact and outcomes

The desk-based research was completed and compiled into a report on 7th September 2007. The report is to be used to inform a survey of schools leaders (the latter has been commissioned by the NCSL as an additional piece of work, to be carried out by another research organisation). The review and survey will inform the future direction of the Strategic Leadership of ICT course, which is a highly regarded programme run by the NCSL for school leaders.

Research design and methods

In order to identify the data relevant to the research questions set out above, a literature search based on key topic areas was conducted. The first step in carrying out the review was to draw up parameters for the study, using NFER’s pro-forma established for this purpose. Each document was assessed by researchers for relevance and quality, according to predetermined criteria. For relevance, the criteria were based on the review’s research aims and questions. Assessing quality involved the consideration of factors such as the appropriateness of the design, the methodology employed by the study, the approach to the analysis of data and the completeness of reporting.


The main audience is the National College for School Leadership. The report may also be of interest to school leaders, training providers, ICT-related policy makers and the ICT research community.

Time scale: August 2007 - January 2008

NFER Project Code: SLY