Digital Leadership and Governance: A Guide to the DfE Standards

In today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, schools need a robust framework to effectively manage their technology infrastructure. Thankfully, the Department for Education’s (DfE) Digital Leadership and Governance standards provide clear guidance for schools and colleges to navigate this digital age with confidence.

The journey towards becoming a digitally empowered school requires commitment and ongoing efforts. However, by implementing the DfE’s standards and fostering a culture of innovation, schools can unlock the full potential of technology to create a thriving learning environment for all students.

Understanding the Standards – A Summary

To help you meet these expectations and save you some time, we’ve provided a summary of what schools, colleges and trusts are expected to deliver when procuring and implementing laptops, desktops and tablets. The DfE’s standards focus on four key areas:

Assign a senior leadership team (SLT) member to be responsible for digital technology.

Appointing a member of the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) as the digital lead is crucial. This individual should champion the use of technology, oversee its implementation, and foster a culture of digital responsibility within the school community.

Keep registers relating to hardware and systems up to date.

Maintaining accurate and readily available records of your school’s digital assets is essential. This includes hardware and software inventories, licenses, and maintenance contracts e.g. broadband, IT support etc.

Asset registers help to log all the physical technology and tools within your schools and should include details such as asset numbers, serial numbers, assignment, location, purchase date etc.

For more details on keeping your systems registered and up to date, see:

Include digital technology within disaster recovery and business continuity plans.

Integrate technology considerations into your disaster recovery and business continuity plans. This ensures that your school can quickly bounce back from unexpected disruptions, minimising the impact on learning and school operations.


Have a digital technology strategy that is reviewed every year.

Develop a digital technology strategy that aligns with your school’s overall development plan and educational vision. This strategic document should be reviewed and updated annually to ensure it remains relevant in the face of evolving needs and technological advancements.

To get you started and help meet the standard, Dataspire recommends:

  • Establishing a digital leadership team: Schools should assemble a group representing diverse stakeholders, including teachers, IT professionals, and students (where appropriate). This team can support the digital lead in developing and implementing the school’s digital strategy and remove the single point of failure.
  • Investing in staff training: Equipping teachers with the necessary skills to leverage technology effectively in their classrooms is crucial. Provide training opportunities on integrating technology into lesson plans, using digital tools for assessment, and maintaining online safety.
  • Promoting responsible technology use: Develop a clear acceptable use policy (AUP) outlining expectations for students, staff, and parents regarding responsible use of technology within the school environment. Regularly discuss and reinforce the AUP with the school community.
  • Seeking external support: Proactively seek guidance from technology experts and educational organisations. They can offer valuable resources and best practices to navigate the ever-changing tech landscape.

Does your school have a Digital Strategy?

It’s ok, many of the schools we speak to do not have a clearly defined ICT/digital vision or strategy and over time, have fallen into a cycle of reactive updates, unsecure networks and expensive replacements.

We’re offering schools a Digital Review that will assess the technology and capabilities you already have, to understand what is working, what is not and a plan to successfully move forward.

  • We will help you identify potential cost savings and efficiencies.
  • We will help you find those quick wins (it’ll feel like finding £20 in your pocket that you didn’t know was there).
  • We will help you create medium to long-term goals, with smarter purchasing and sustainable places to reinvest your new money.
  • We will help you find other opportunities through centralisation and economies of scale.
  • We will help you define your overall goals and the strategies required.
  • And we will help you implement the tactics that are needed to execute those strategies.

Want to know more?

Complete the form below to find out how we can help you develop your digital strategy and meet the DfE’s standards.

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