EMBARGO: 00:01, Friday 8th September

The Dawn of AI in UK Schools: A New Term, A New Challenge

As schools across the UK open their doors for the new term, leaders face an unprecedented opportunity and challenge: the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in education. Recent surveys have highlighted the growing influence of AI in our classrooms: a staggering 67% of UK secondary students have reportedly used chatbots, such as ChatGPT, for their homework. Meanwhile, 66% of teachers believe they are now regularly receiving AI-completed assignments. 

As the new term commences, school leaders and educators are at a pivotal juncture, needing to reconsider how they assign work and homework in this AI-augmented landscape. In the summer term, a coalition of leaders  from some of the country’s top schools expressed their concerns about the “very real and present hazards and dangers” presented by AI, noting also that “Schools are bewildered by the very fast rate of change in AI and seek secure guidance on the best way forward, but whose advice can we trust?”

In response, and in an effort to inject pragmatic and positive guidance into a conversation that has been largely about the threat of AI, the Teacher Development Trust (TDT) and the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) are set to launch a collaborative publication, “Understanding AI For School: Tips for School Leaders,” on Friday, 8th September 2023. This publication, which is being endorsed and co-published by the National Association of Headteachers (NAHT), the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), and the Confederation of School Trusts (CST), aims to guide school leaders through this new frontier.

ISTE CEO, Richard Culatta said, “With the explosion of generative AI tools, there has been an overwhelming demand for support from educators who recognize the urgency of quickly assessing the opportunities and challenges that AI brings to school. In collaboration from our colleagues at TDT and with input from CST, NAHT, and ASCL, we’ve created a practical guide to support educators in the UK. The guide represents our shared vision for a balanced approach to AI in education, and is just the first of many collaborations to support the innovative and effective use of AI and other technologies to support learning and teacher development.”

TDT’s Co-CEO, David Weston, said “AI is not something that schools can plan for later, it’s something that is being used by many of their pupils, parents and staff right now. It’s the fastest growing and changing technology in human history and schools need support, particularly when so many competing challenges – finances, mental health, special needs, pupil attendance, teacher recruitment and retention, build maintenance – are already pressing on leaders’ minds. This new guidance takes a balanced approach – learn the basics of what AI, and particularly generative AI, is all about, plan for its risks and possibilities, and support staff carefully with the right discussion, development and conditions to begin to use it in ways that will support pupil success and teacher expertise. We’re proud to have collaborated with ISTE to create this UK-focused guidance.

James Bowen, Assistant General Secretary of NAHT said “When it comes to integrating AI into the lives of schools, there is so much for school leaders to be thinking about. Whilst AI has huge potential for schools and learners, it also poses some real challenges and leaders will need to think about the pitfalls as well as the opportunities. This guide is an excellent place to start for any school considering the role AI could play now and in the future. It encourages leaders to think not just about the practicalities of AI, but also how they can take a responsible and ethical approach to developing its use.

Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “It is clear that AI will have a profound impact on education and we need to embrace the positives while guarding against the negatives. AI has the potential to aid classroom learning, support teachers in their work and enrich the curriculum, but young people need to be taught how to use it safely and responsibly. The fact is that AI is here to stay, and this guide is an important aid to understanding the challenges and opportunities.”

Leora Cruddas, Chief Executive of the Confederation of School Trusts said “We are pleased to support this guidance developed by the Teacher Development Trust and ISTE. It is important that as leaders and educators we engage with the strategic issues that transcend nation states and will impact on us all. The document offers some thoughtful ‘guiding principles’ for schools and trusts to consider.

Schools, pupils and parents, more than ever, are seeking clarity. With AI becoming an important consideration in children’s education, understanding its potential and limitations is paramount. This guide offers insights, ensuring parents are informed and can support their children in this evolving educational environment.

The Guide contains:

  • An in-depth look into the various forms of AI and their implications in education.
  • The challenges and opportunities presented by Generative AI specifically.
  • Guiding principles for school leaders to navigate the rapidly changing AI landscape.
  • Practical strategies for schools to integrate AI responsibly.
  • A comprehensive FAQ section addressing the most pressing concerns.

The collaboration between TDT, ISTE, NAHT, ASCL, and CST marks a significant stride in preparing UK schools for the AI era. By equipping educators and parents with the necessary knowledge, we can ensure a balanced and informed approach to AI in education.

The guide will be available to download from 00:01 on Friday 8th September from

About TDT & ISTE:

The Teacher Development Trust (TDT) is the national charity for effective development in schools, colleges and early years settings. As one of the main government-licensed Lead Providers for leadership training in schools, the charity publishes research on effective leadership and staff development and offers support to leaders to create schools where staff become more expert and thrive professionally so that pupils – particularly the most disadvantaged – succeed.  

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) is a US-based nonprofit organisation that works with the global education community to accelerate innovation in education through the smart use of technology. Having recently merged with the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), it is a global leader of professional learning resources for all educators and instructional leaders. 

Press Contact:

David Weston, Co-CEO, Teacher Development Trust
Direct dial: 020 3398 0691


Laurie Forcier, International Partnerships, ISTE
Direct dial: 07428 911640