07 Nov 2011

Future looks bright for scheme to spread IT insight among teachers

£1.25M boost for Vital programme

With the ever increasing need for IT skills among teachers, The Open University has welcomed a government cash endorsement of its programme to support education professionals in sharing and enhancing their technology skills. Vital Professional Development, a programme to support schools and colleges in enhancing their teaching with ICT, including the teaching of IT and Computing, has received a £1.25 million boost by the Department for Education (DfE) to safeguard its work into 2013. This means the programme – already enhanced by £2.5 million earlier this year – can develop and extend its outreach to staff in state funded 5-19 education in England.

The additional funding underlines the success of Vital and supports the In-house Professional Development Partnership, an innovative approach to CPD which provides a structured programme to support schools and colleges in meeting their institutional needs, and includes access to subject specific web-portals to help teachers use IT more effectively across the curriculum.

The new In-house Professional Development Partnership is a school-based initiative supporting a teacher in each partner school to become a “Vital Professional”, who is supported in designing flexible staff development to help a team of staff achieve agreed needs within their own institution. Subject specific web-portals identify high quality teaching resources and advise on how to use them effectively in teaching, as well as providing opportunities for discussion and sharing between practitioners.

Dr Peter Twining, Vital Director and Senior Lecturer at The Open University, said: “This is great news for the programme and allows us to partner with more schools and colleges to help them maximise the impact of their existing resources. The In-house Professional Development Partnership model provides an economical yet high quality and effective approach to staff development that is flexible and sustainable, and targeted on meeting each partner institution’s specific development needs.”

Notes to Editors:
About Vital
Vital Professional Development is delivered by The Open University and part-funded by the Department for Education. It aims to support practitioners in sharing their expertise and so enhance the quality of teaching and learning. Vital provides inspiring ideas for learners, materials that can be used in the classroom, and opportunities to share expertise with peers.

Vital supports teachers and other practitioners in making even better use of ICT in their teaching. It is delivered in collaboration with other key providers, such as e-skills UK, the sector skills council for IT. Since it launched at BETT in January 2010, Vital has engaged with educators and schools worldwide to create an active community in the real world and online with over 7,200 registered users of

Vital is supported by a network of regional teams who organise events and activities across the UK, such as “TeachMeets”, conferences and web conferences to reach out to educators, local authority staff and education professionals. Free 30 day subject portal trials are available to teachers from the website

The In-house Professional Development Partnership is a new approach to CPD. The current pilot price for state funded 5-19 education institutions in England is £330, which provides support for 12 months. For further information see

To get in touch with the regional team or for any other enquiries please contact or telephone 0845 366 0481.

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