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Rise in computer candidates

The number of students entered for intermediate GNVQs in information technology after taking Thomas Telford's course has soared from 1,600 in 2000 to a projected 100,000 next year.

The extraordinary success of the course comes in part following the Government's investment in ICT, but also alongside a decline in the numbers taking traditional ICT GCSEs.

Overall 45,612 students took the full intermediate GNVQ ICT exam this year, double that of 2002. The qualification is worth four GCSEs at A* to C.

Entries for the less demanding part one version of the exam, worth two GCSEs at C or above, trebled, from 17,453 to 47,450. By contrast, the numbers taking ICT GCSE fell by 24,000.

Ministers launched a new e-learning credits scheme last year in which schools are reimbursed pound;10 for each student if they sign up for courses delivered by computer technology, including those provided by Thomas Telford.

Following the introduction of a national key stage three strategy in ICT, the subject is likely to be taken up by even more students.

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