Using ICT at Key Stages 1 & 2

Using ICT

Developing pupils’ Using ICT skills encourages them to:

  • handle and communicate information;
  • solve problems;
  • pose questions; and
  • be creative through the use of digital technology.

It's important that pupils develop their technical skills in a range of different types of ICT, such as publishing, presenting, coding, managing data, art, music and sound, film and animation. The emphasis in Using ICT is on pupils using digital skills appropriately while engaging in meaningful and purposeful activities, set in a range of curriculum contexts.

Assessing Using ICT

Assessing Using ICT in a variety of contexts across the curriculum helps track the effectiveness of school ICT strategies and monitors pupil progress. It is important to plan teaching, learning and assessment opportunities and the Levels of Progression can help with this, for example when negotiating success criteria with pupils.

See the Assess and Progress section for more detailed advice and guidance on assessing Using ICT.


For more information on Using ICT contact:

Ciara Mahon
(028) 9026 1200 ext. 2606

Judith Morgan
(028) 9026 1200 ext. 2665

Curriculum Requirements

The curriculum requirements for Using ICT are set out under the 5 ‘E’s.

Explore includes two statements. Teachers need to cover both to meet the statutory requirements. The first statement is about looking for, finding, choosing and using information. Pupils move from having resources provided for them to being more independent and discerning users of ICT. The second statement is about pupils using digital tools to investigate, enquire and solve problems.

Express is about pupils being creative, developing and presenting their ideas using text, sound, music and still or moving images. It ranges from simple text, sound or pictures to developing a multimedia digital product.

Exchange relates to communicating with others online to share and develop ideas. It can include sending and receiving emails, videoconferencing, contributing to online discussions or collaborating with digital tools.

Evaluate is about pupils reflecting on both their process and outcome, thinking about how they carried out an activity and how they might improve on what they did.

Exhibit is about managing and showcasing work digitally. It ranges from pupils printing and saving their work to organising and maintaining digital files and folders.

Covering the Using ICT requirements across the 5 ‘E’s

Explore and Express are the main focus for ICT teaching and learning in the school curriculum.

When developing Explore and Express activities, teachers should include opportunities to:

  • Evaluate (pupils consider how they are working and what they have done); and
  • Exhibit (pupils showcase their work digitally).

Where possible, teachers should also provide opportunities for pupils to Exchange (work collaboratively using digital tools).

The Resources section contains support and guidance that schools can use to create an ICT curriculum that’s relevant for their pupils and situation.


Using ICT Teaching and Learning Units Using ICT Teaching and Learning Units

CCEA has created the following teaching and learning units in response to teacher requests for guidance on how to approach the teaching of each type of ICT (as set out in the Desirable Features).

Key Using ICT Documents

Key Using ICT Documents

Levels of Progressions for Using ICT

The Levels of Progression for Using ICT are set out in can-do statements. They set the standards of what is expected for pupil competence in Using ICT. They can help teachers make judgements about the levels pupils are working at and are a guide to progression in this skill.

There are progression statements for each of the 5 ‘E’s, which are the curriculum requirements for Using ICT.

The expected level for the end of:

  • Key Stage 1 is Level 2: and
  • Key Stage 2 is Level 4.

Expansion of the Levels of Progression

We have developed the Expansion of the Levels of Progression in Using ICT to help teachers better understand the Levels of Progression statements. The guidance includes examples that show how each broad progression statement might look in practice.

These examples are not exhaustive and do not represent complete activities. However, they do show typical ways in which pupils work at each level in Using ICT.

Desirable Features

The Desirable Features are guidance statements for these types of classroom ICT.

  • Computational Thinking and Coding (Interactive Design*)
  • Digital Art and Design (Working with Images*)
  • Digital Audio (Music and Sound*)
  • Digital Storytelling: Film and Animation (Film and Animation*)
  • Digital Storytelling: Presenting (Presenting*)
  • Digital Storytelling: Publishing (Desktop Publishing*)
  • Managing Data

*The Desirable Features were updated in 2019 and the previous names are shown in brackets.

CCEA created them to support teachers in planning for progression in Using ICT and to help them make assessment judgements about pupil work.

The Desirable Features guidance statements describe what the standards for different types of ICT look like in practice. They align with the Levels of Progression and give a context for classroom work. When teachers are assigning a level to a pupil’s piece of work, they can use the statements to see what is desirable in that ICT activity at each level.

Teachers will need to choose more than one type of ICT activity to cover the curriculum requirements for Using ICT.

The Desirable Features don't stand alone. Teachers should look at how the type of ICT can support learning in other areas such as literacy or The Arts. They are not designed to be a checklist so that teachers have to cover every single point in a specific activity. Instead, they can guide teachers when covering different types of ICT.

Using ICT Tasks

Using ICT Tasks

There are a range of optional CCEA Tasks for primary schools to use.

The tasks can help teachers plan for and carry out ICT work that contributes to the Using ICT curriculum requirements. Most of the tasks are generic, so they can be used more than once.

They cover a range of different types of ICT and are written for a range of different platforms, such as PCs, MacBooks, programmable devices and tablets. Each task clearly indicates which platform is suitable. Most of the tasks are suitable for a range of levels.

Teachers can also use the tasks for assessment. Teachers must make sure that their pupils have already acquired the skills they need to complete the task if using it for assessment.

The library also has samples of pupil work for most of the tasks and commentaries explaining how the pupil work illustrates the standards of the Levels of Progression.

To access the Task and Exemplification Library, go to Skills and Learning: Interactive Support. Teachers do not have to log in for the Task Library but they do have to log in for the Exemplification Library to access pupils’ actual work.

Using ICT in Practice

Using ICT in Practice

The Using ICT in Practice videos show how some schools have embedded Using ICT across the curriculum.

Holy Cross Girls' Primary School Case Study

In this video, you’ll hear how the staff at Holy Cross Girls' Primary School in Belfast embed and develop Using ICT across the curriculum.

Gaelscoil na bhFál and Gaelscoil na Daróige Irish Medium Case Study

Gaelscoil na bhFál and Gaelscoil na Daróige Irish Medium Case Study (English Subtitles)

In this video, you’ll hear how the staff at Gaelscoil na bhFál and Gaelscoil na Daróige embed Using ICT across the curriculum to develop pupils' communication skills.

School Planning for Using ICT

School Planning for Using ICT

See the following for more detailed advice and guidance:

Planning for Using ICT in a Primary School Curriculum  53 KB - uploaded 23-01-2018

Audit Grid for Using ICT  34 KB - uploaded 23-01-2018

Assessing Using ICT at Key Stage 1 and 2 curriculum/assess_progress/assessment_practice/assessing_cross_curricular_skills/using_ict/key_stage



The Levels of Progression for Using ICT include this statement: 'Pupils should demonstrate, when and where appropriate, knowledge and understanding of e-safety including acceptable online behaviour.'

This is not a separate assessment criterion. Schools should embed e-safety education into teaching and learning in the Areas of Learning through relevant topics. This will give pupils opportunities to develop their knowledge and understanding of e-safety.

CCEA's Relationships and Sexuality Education Hub has information and links that we think are particularly useful for this topic.


Assessing The Cross-Curricular Skills online course

Our Assessing the Cross-Curricular Skills online course (including Using ICT) is available for all registered primary school teachers in Northern Ireland. To access this course, go to CCEA Training and log in with your C2k details.

It guides you through the requirements in a structured, interactive way.

By the end of the course, you should:

  • understand the statutory requirements for the skill of Using ICT;
  • know the legislative requirements for assessing Using ICT; and
  • be familiar with the content and layout of the Levels of Progression grids.

You can revisit the course materials at any time.

Foundation Stage online course

Our Foundation Stage online course is a supplementary course for Foundation Stage teachers. It includes training on implementing and assessing Using ICT. Some of the material in this course should help Using ICT co-ordinators plan curriculum coverage across the whole school (not just in Foundation Stage). To access this course, go to CCEA Training and log in with your C2k details.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) videos

We have designed the following mini CPD videos to provide professional learning support on a range of Using ICT issues. These include assigning a level to pupil work, moderation and evaluating practice.

Each video lasts five minutes and they can be paused for discussion or reflection.

Training events

We also provide face-to-face workshops and other training events for Using ICT. See Curriculum Training and Support for more details.