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Teachers today received a£235m boost to equip them with the information and communication technology skills for th...
Teachers today received a£235m boost to equip them with the information and communication technology skills for the information age. Education and employment secretary announced a lottery-backed training programme to help all teachers by 2002 to make the most effective use of new technology in the drive to raise standards in schools.

Opening the 14th British Education and Training Technology exhibition

at Olympia, London, Mr Blunkett:

- launched the prototype National Grid for Learning featuring the

Virtual Teacher Centre and the Standards and Effectiveness Database

to give teachers and senior managers a new and rapid way of accessing

essential information;

- 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

and numeracy.

'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

this year.

'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

and training.

'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.

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