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VIRTUALLY ALL SCHOOLS ARE NOW CONNECTED TO THE INTERNET - SCHOOLS MINISTER

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Schools minister Catherine Ashton today welcomed new figures showing ...
Schools minister Catherine Ashton today welcomed new figures showing

that virtually all schools are now connected to the Internet. Primary

schools have made excellent progress - with 96 per cent online

compared to just 17 per cent four years ago - and almost all

secondary schools are now online.

Catherine Ashton said:

'The government's£1.8bn investment in ICT is paying dividends

and we are equipping our future generations for the challenges of the

new century. We must ensure that all schools are connected soon and

we want to help any of those who are not yet there.'

Today's figures, taken from a sample survey of schools in England,

also show progress towards the national grid for learning baseline to

be achieved by 2002. The baseline represents the minimum level of ICT

each school should have in order to take advantage of the benefits of

new technologies and to ensure pupils can access these new

technologies. As well as an increase in the number of schools

connected to the Internet, there has also been an increase in the

number of computers per pupil - from one computer for every 17.6

pupils in primary schools in 1998 to 11.8 currently. In secondary

schools there is now one computer for every 7.1 pupils.

Catherine Ashton added:

'I am also very pleased to note that the survey tells us that 73.4

per cent of teachers - more than ever before - feel confident in

their use of ICT. I believe this is directly attributable to the

Computers for Teachers initiative and the NOF ICT training

programme.'

Now that most schools are online, the focus is moving to content and

best practice - making the most of what the internet can do for

education and what it offers to individual pupils, teachers and to

schools themselves.

Catherine Ashton said:

'The internet offers a bewildering choice of sites and it is often

difficult to find quality resources and information. Last year we

launched TeacherNet as a search facility for teachers. In response to

growing expectations we have redesigned and greatly extended the

website to provide clear and easy access to a huge range of materials

and information.

'This will be the first time that such a wealth of educational

material has been collated into one, user-friendly resource. The DfES

and partner agencies are committed to making TeacherNet the only site

teachers need to remember for official information. Over the coming

months the content of the site will be significantly expanded as

other DfES sites for teachers are incorporated and new products are

brought on stream.

'I am also delighted at the news today that the number of teachers

signed up for ICT training - run by the new opportunities fund (NOF)

is running ahead of schedule, with over 355,000 teachers across the

UK already signed up, over three quarters of eligible teachers.'

The improved TeacherNet site will include:

- regularly changing and up-to-date content, including more than 200

case studies, website reviews and news;

- an online version of DfES' mailings to schools which can be

customised and filtered to focus on relevant information;

- a new framework of professional standards for teachers so that they

can compare the skills they need for their job now against the

skills needed for other types of teaching post; and

- the latest information on pay and performance management.

NOTES

The NOF training is UK-wide and the SFR applies to England only.

1. The new figures, taken from a sample survey, are contained in

'ICT in Schools' a Statistical First Release. The full survey

results are due to be published in a Statistical Bulletin, but not

until October 2001.

2. The NGfL baseline was announced in September 2000. It is: a

computer:pupil ratio of at least 1:11 in each primary and 1:7 in

each secondary school; a connection to the internet in each school,

with at least 20% of schools connected at broadband level; and at

least one networked computer with Internet access in each school

for management and administrative purposes.

3. The government is investing£245m through the Standards Fund this

year to bring all schools up to the baseline.

4. The New Opportunities Fund distributes lottery money to health,

education and environment projects across the UK. NOF is releasing

a press notice on the latest ICT teacher training scheme today at

9.30am. The press office contact is Monica Hicks on 020 7211 1788

or at monica.hicks@nof.org.uk

The NOF press notice will be available here.

5. Research published by the British educational and communications

and technology agency (Becta) in January and February 2001 found

that there is a consistent trend for pupils in schools with better

ICT resources to achieve better grades for English, maths and

science. It also found that at key stage 2 schools with good ICT

resources deliver better results than schools with poor ICT

resources even when compared with schools of a similar type and

irrespective of socio-economic circumstances. The reports are

available from the Becta website.

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