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pound;230m Lottery scheme attacked

The New Opportunities Fund's training has come under fire, reports Chris Johnston

the pound;230million Lottery-funded programme to train teachers in using computers has been strongly criticised by the Office for Standards in Education.

A new report has found that the New Opportunities Fund (NOF) initiative has not had the same impact as the National Grid for Learning, which has improved teaching as well as pupils' IT capabilities.

The NOF scheme is also criticised in a new unpublished report by NMRothschild, which offers ideas for the future of the National Grid for Learning, and is analysed on the TES website. Only about half of all teachers have enrolled for NOF training, say inspectors, with a minority completing it.

Heads were given little infomation to help them to choose the best training provider and "the requirement for teachers to train in their own time meant that progress in developing their professional skills in using ICT was slow".

However, Ofsted noted that NOF training, when completed, has often increased teachers' confidence in using technology in the classroom, but only rarely added to their " pedagogic expertise". It recommended raising the profile of the scheme by restating and clarifying its aims, as well as developing the role of ICT in the literacy and numeracy strategies.

The NOF said it would act on the findings by raising the scheme's profile to get more teachers to sign up - all should have done so by March 2002 - and better informing them about the training.

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