Opening the 14th British Education and Training Technology exhibition
at Olympia, London, Mr Blunkett:
- launched the prototype National Grid for Learning featuring the
to give teachers and senior managers a new and rapid way of accessing
- pledged to support the training of all 450,000 teachers in the
curriculum use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
through£230m of National Lottery funds in the period up to 2002, in
parallel with equipping and connecting schools under the National
Grid for Learning, and providing£20m for training librarians and
£50m for the digitisation of content for educational purposes held by
libraries, museums and other institutions;
- announced publication of successful results from the multimedia
laptops for teachers pilot project;
- committed further funding of£5m this year for multimedia laptop
computers to equip teachers and senior school managers and increase
their awareness of ICT's potential to deliver improved performance in
Mr Blunkett said:
'I am launching today the first prototype of the Virtual Teacher
Centre promised in our manifesto. It will become a place for teachers
to go for inspiration and help in raising standards. We shall
evaluate its use in 1000 pilot schools, discuss it with teachers and
develop towards a fuller roll-out later in 1998.
'In parallel I am also launching the Standards and Effectiveness
Database on the Grid. This will disseminate good practice and
measures which help raise standards, including guidance on
target-setting, literacy, numeracy and bench-marking.
'It is essential that senior managers in schools are convinced of the
value of technology in reaching their goals, and that teachers are
comfortable in using the technology within subjects right across the
curriculum. We do not want any teacher to fear the Information Age.
The government is committed to using lottery funds to help schools
with matching ICT training, as announced last year.
'We shall shortly be consulting on a new ICT curriculum for the
initial training of all new teachers. Plans to be announced later
this year will address the ICT training needs of all serving teachers
in the UK, and fit alongside training measures to improve literacy
'We now have firm evidence, from a report published today, that
giving teachers personal access to their own portable laptop computer
is a highly effective way of developing their skills and confidence.
For over 90 per cent of teachers a laptop computer not only developed
their IT skills but also brought benefit to the whole school.
Building on this I am announcing today a new£5m programme to provide
headteachers and senior teachers with multimedia laptop computers
'All this builds on the massive boost provided by our programme for
giving a central role to ICT in the Learning Society. Consultation
is showing a substantial endorsement for the government's targets and
strategy set out in the consultation paper launched by the prime
minister last autumn. We are supporting a£100m programme in 1998-99
to kick- start the National Grid for Leaning - the biggest annual
programme for ICT in schools ever in the UK.
'We are also transforming the National Council for Educational
Technology - it will now be known as the British Educational
Communications and Technology Agency - to support the government's
priorities, including the development and running of the National
Grid for Learning.
'1998 will be UK Net Year. This is a very welcome private sector
initiative which will help to promote the take-up of ICT in schools.
it demonstrates the commitment of the private sector companies
involved to help equip schools and develop back-up technical support
'This is a major agenda for change which complements our agenda for
literacy, numeracy and raising standards across the board.'
Copies of relevant reports and papers, including the National
Grid for Learning consultation document 'Connecting the Learning
Society' and reports on the superhighways and multimedia portables
for teachers projects, can be obtained from the order line on 0845 60
222 60, or alternatively from the DfEE stand at the BETT exhibition.