Blair to expand on IT policy

Susan Young

Labour leader Tony Blair will outline his party's policy on education and technology in schools when he opens a major conference next week.

Curriculum 2000 - Education and the Moving Image, sponsored jointly by The TES and the British Film Institute, will debate whether children's reading and writing is in danger of being destroyed or transformed by new technology and the media.

Mr Blair, who has pledged to connect every school to the information superhighway, will tell the conference at London's South Bank that he hopes new technology will enable more personalised and individual learning.

He will stress the party's commitment to making excellent education available to all. And he will emphasise his belief that education must be tailored to the interests of each pupil.

Mr Blair is likely to attack what he sees as a covert return by the Conservatives to the values of the 11-plus .

"I believe all the stakeholders in the education process need to be brought together in a new partnership based on high expectations and support for success," said Mr Blair. "This conference is part of that process."

Four main debates will take place over the two days of the conference next Wednesday and Thursday, with speakers including Dr Nick Tate, chief executive of the Schools Curriculum and Assessment Authority; film producer Sir David Puttnam; Anthea Millett of the Teacher Training Agency; Margaret Maden of the Centre for Successful Schools at Keele University and Eric Bolton, Professor of Teacher Education at London University.

The conference takes place against the background of likely reform of the national curriculum, the high profile of education in politics and the increasing importance of new technology.

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Susan Young

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