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The government is to provide£23 million to ensure that nearly 10,000 teachers and headteachers have access to mult...
The government is to provide£23 million to ensure that nearly 10,000 teachers and headteachers have access to multimedia laptops, education and employment secretary David Blunkett announced yesterday. Speaking at the annual conference of the National Association of Schoolmasters/Union of Women Teachers, Mr Blunkett said:

'I am pleased to be able to announce today a substantive investment to help teachers and headteachers integrate learning into the Government's drive to bring the information age alive in every community in the country. Today the Prime Minister launched the Government's vision for the information age and the biggest programme of investment and training in IT ever undertaken by a British Government. I am pleased to be able to contribute to this initiative.

'Teachers will be in the vanguard of our Information Age. They need to be able to inspire young people and show that they too can use IT. I can announce today a£23m package to provide nearly 10,000 Headteachers and teachers with powerful portable multimedia computers so that they can see for themselves what IT can do

'This is the beginning of a substantial investment which builds on the announcement I made earlier this week in respect of the development of the National Grid for Learning.

'I have no doubt whatsoever that this programme will be a success. We know that IT can help reduce the burden on teachers. Previous schemes for serving teachers have shown that giving a teacher sole use of a portable computer is one of the most effective ways of training them in the use of ICT. It helps their confidence and their teaching and helps them to organise their work so as to use more effectively the time they spend with their pupils.

'The Virtual Teacher Centre and the Standards and Effectiveness Database, will be at the heart of the National Grid for Learning and will show teachers how to get the most from computers and networks. Some of these portable computers will be targeted at Headteachers trialling the new Headteachers qualification and aspiring Headteachers undertaking the National Professional Qualification for Headship.

'We have shown just how committed we are to the grid by announcing earlier this week support for a£100m programme in 1998-99. The biggest ever annual programme for IT in schools. And earlier this year we announced that the New Opportunities Fund would support£230m of training for teachers in the curriculum use of IT until 2002.

'This announcement, together with those made earlier this week will again reduce the burden of paperwork for teachers and lessen the bureaucratic obstacles to effective teaching and learning.

'In addition portable computers will also go to the LEA Literacy Consultants to support the National Literacy Strategy, underlining our commitment to pushing forward our drive for standards in literacy and in teacher training.


1. The National Grid for Learning prototype Virtual Teacher Centre and Standards and Effectiveness Database waslaunched at the 14th British Education and Training Technology (BETT) Show in January.It can be accessed at

2. At BETT '98 Mr Blunkett announced a lottery-backed #230 training programme to train all teachers in the effective curriculum use of ICT by 2002.

3. Following the success of previous pilot projects, the DfEE has allocated #23 million to buy multimedia portable computers for headteachers and teachers. The evaluation of previous schemes found that over 98% of teachers made successful use of the computers, 95% teachers used the computers at school for teaching purposes and 95% teachers used the computers at schools for administrative activities.

The value that teachers placed on the computers can be seen by the fact that 99% teachers used the computers at home to complete work begun at school.

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