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Computers in schools groups join forces

ICT co-ordinators, heads and other staff involved with technology in primary and secondary schools and colleges will be able to join the National Association of Advisers for Computers in Education (Naace), the former computer advisers' association, following its merger with two other groups.

The association's 1,000 members have voted to join forces with Micros in Primary Education (Mape), which has over 2,000 members, and the Computer Education Group (CEG).

Steve Bacon, Naace general secretary, said talks began two years ago on the future development and role of the organisation formed in 1984 to represent ICT advisers in local authorities.

Most members work for LEAs or are independent consultants, but he says there was a desire to make it more inclusive and allow anyone involved with advancing education through ICT to join.

There were obvious benefits of joining forces with Mape and CEG, Bacon explained, such as strengthening its expertise in subject areas and school leadership. "In the future, ICT will become closely integrated within the overall context of school improvement - gone are the days of ICT being a bolt-on activity," a Naace consultation document states.

Enlarging the association was backed by Charles Clarke, the Education Secretary, and the DfES. Officials said input from the classroom would enhance its advice to government as well as giving it a stronger voice.

Bacon says the new Naace will have a number of communities within it and a programme of services and programmes will be developed to meet their needs.

Mape had 5,000 members at its peak, but its chair Heather Govier said it had become increasingly difficult to recruit new members. The merger was overwhelmingly approved late last year.

The new-look Naace, which took effect on January 1, will be officially announced at next week's BETT show in London.

Chris Johnston

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