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The local picture

Each term, when Dave Connellan receives a labour market "newsflash" from South London TEC, he sends a copy to colleagues at Whitton School in Richmond, Surrey. Pupils are also given the A4 sheet to take home to their parents.

Mr Connellan, Whitton's careers co-ordinator, is delighted that the TEC is "spoon-feeding" teachers with information which he could otherwise gain only by trawling through newspapers and magazines. "They give me facts and figures I can integrate into lessons without having to muck around with them first, " he explains.

Mr Connellan, who also teaches personal and social education, is surprised by some of the information he receives. He says: "I was unaware that so many construction jobs are to be generated at Heathrow and by the rebuilding of Wembley Stadium."

Geography teacher Bob Hope finds information on the labour market more useful for introducing lessons than for detailed GCSE work. "I don't have time to process all the information in the way I need," he says. "In some cases I require more detail or to compare the local economy with a developing country. "

But he has used information supplied by the TEC for a project on the controversial proposals for a fifth terminal at Heathrow Airport. About 60 per cent of the school's 1,000 pupils have a relative working at the airport or in a related industry. "Anything that has local relevance is good because it is real to the pupils," he says.

Neil Merrick

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