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Minister pledges pound;25m for London whiteboards

Interactive whiteboards will become key teaching tools in more than 3,000 classrooms in London next year under a new pound;25 million scheme.

Schools minister Stephen Twigg said every secondary school in the capital will benefit from the scheme, which will put whiteboards into every classroom used for at least one of the three core subjects: English, mathematics and science. The technology will be installed in all 3,000 classrooms by September 2004, he said.

"Interactive whiteboards are revolutionising teaching and learning in schools and we have seen that they have a significant impact on standards," Twigg said.

The move is part of the London Challenge that, over five years, aims to make the capital a world leader for learning and creativity.

The Department for Education and Skills asked the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (Becta) to procure the boards. It is the most significant demonstration to date of the Government's faith in whiteboards to raise school standards.

More than 27,000 whiteboards were sold in Britain last year, according to Mark Wallbank, Becta's head of procurement. The scheme will see that number rise considerably next year. "It is the biggest-ever whiteboard project in the UK," he said.

Mr Wallbank said there was extensive interest from the industry in the call for expressions of interest, which closed in mid-September. Tenders were issued in October and contracts will be awarded in January.

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