Computer training moves on

he next stage in the Scottish Executive's strategy for training teachers to use information and communications technology starts on Thursday. The pound;1.5-pound;2 million scheme, nicknamed "Son of NOF", adopts a different approach from its predecessor.

New Opportunities Fund training in ICT has been available for three years for all teachers wishing to take it up and 87 per cent of Scottish teachers signed up, but the funding did not provide classroom cover and some did not wish to train in their own time.

The new scheme, Masterclass, will be launched at the SETT show, when 600 figures from the 32 education authorities begin two days of specialised training and start a national network. "One of the aims is to establish ICT champions across all education authorities, thus enabling them to integrate ICT training into the future pound;12 million CPD framework," said an Executive source.

The 600, who have been selected by their authorities, are mainly ICT co-ordinators or people involved in NOF training, but there are also classroom teachers, school-based mentors, headteachers (to pick up on management needs), centrally based staff development officers, advisers and education officers, and staff from the seven teacher education institutes. Their job, as of next week, will be to cascade advice and information on good practice to all schools.

An online community will be set up at the same time and the Masterclass members will be issued with laptops, so that teachers can always contact them.

"The online community is based on, which offers not just discussion but also brainstorming functions, voting buttons and areas to upload and download resources," says Marie Dougan of Learning and Teaching Scotland, who will run the scheme. "It is also expected that sub-communities will develop."

There are four strands to Masterclass covering aspects of learning and teaching with ICT and its management. "In each strand we will be looking at inclusion, supporting children with special needs," says Ms Dougan.

Some participants will operate by going into schools but most of their support for teachers will be online. They will also produce staff development resources.

Gillian Macdonald

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