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Juniors join the Internet

All 1,800 Welsh primary schools are to be linked to the Internet, the global computer network, in a Pounds 3 million plan announced by Welsh Secretary John Redwood.

In the same week the minister published a consultation document called A Bright Future: getting the best for every pupil at school in Wales to raise standards in the principality.

Mr Redwood said the Internet equipment will particularly help the traditional teaching of English, Welsh, maths and science. In a speech last weekend, he said many primary-school children were already "dancing to the tune of cyberspace".

He said that even French grammar can appear exciting if presented on a computer screen. The Internet will help foreign languages classes by linking schools in different countries. The Department of Trade and Industry already plans to put English and Welsh secondary schools on the Internet at a cost of Pounds 7.5 million.

A Bright Future sets a target for half of Welsh 16-year-olds to achieve grades A-C in all core subjects - science, maths and English or Welsh - by 2000. It says every school should publish its own targets by September to help achieve the national figure and give progress reports in annual reports to parents. All secondary pupils should have their own records of achievement, while schools should offer incentives such as study trips and guaranteed interviews for jobs, and provide after-hours study facilities.

Other targets call for 95 per cent of lessons to be at least satisfactory by 2000 and more lessons to be taken by subject specialists.

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