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IT survey reports lack of support for schools

Schools need more support if they are to play a key role in reducing the growing digital divide, says a report by the Parents Information Network (PIN).

The report, the first survey of home-school information and communication technology support, said there was a long way to go if community ICT access was to be anything more than an idea.

Jacquie Disney, PIN director, said: "It would be foolish to underestimate the level of support schools will need to achieve anything like the Government's National Grid for Learning requirement that links funding to the provision of extending access to ICT."

Only 44 per cent of the 437 schools surveyed opened their ICT facilities out of hours, in many cases hiring them out to organisations running evening casses.

The report found that schools are failing to exploit parental interest in ICT. Sixty per cent of secondaries report parents asking teachers about the subject, but no more than 25 per cent have held awareness-raising events or ICT training for parents. Forty-two per cent of schools have a website and only 20 per cent of these have a parents' area.

PIN said there was evidence that schools' ICT policies were lagging behind society. It said only 10 per cent included ICT in homeschool agreements, which was "remarkably low if one considers the impact of ICT on the school and wider community, and suggests senior management have not realised its growing significance".

Survey of Home-School ICT Support www.pin.org.uksurvey01.htm

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