Understanding AI should be part of teacher training courses and headteachers’ leadership qualifications, according to BCS, Britain’s Chartered Institute for IT.

The professional body said using digital technology, including AI in the classroom, should be prominent in Initial Teacher Training (ITT) and National Professional Qualifications for school leaders.

It suggests these measures will help teachers use AI tools and other packages for lesson planning, creating worksheets, and marking – and to better understand how students are using AI at home. 

 Schools should also be asked to publish digital strategies covering areas like cyber security, backed by professional IT staff.

Julia Adamson, BCS MD for Education and Public Benefit said, “Teachers and school support staff should be able to use digital technology in every aspect of their work, but they aren’t trained to do that and are being let down.

“We are calling for the National Professional Qualifications for heads and leaders to include having a vision for the safe and effective use of technology in their schools, including understanding of the impact of AI.

“Teachers’ use of technology in learning and assessment should also be a key part of initial teacher training (ITT) and accredited professional development programmes – and, again, AI needs to be included.

“We should also develop professional standards for IT staff working in educational institutions and require schools and colleges to publish digital strategies.

“The big challenge for any government guidance and training is to be agile enough to keep up with how quickly AI and regulation is moving.”

The BCS recommendations came after a letter to The Times by school leaders, led by Sir Anthony Seldon, headteacher of Epsom College. It warned of a lack of policy guidance on #AI in education. The group announced a new-cross sector body made up of leading teachers and guided by independent tech experts.

The BCS Computing at School (CAS) network earlier this year rated fellow teachers’ understanding of ChatGPT as ‘low’ or ‘very low’. CAS said most schools did not have plans for the impact of AI.

Guidance from the Joint Council for Curriculum and Qualifications (JCQ) in March said schools should make students do some coursework in class “under direct supervision” to stop misuse of AI.