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Sandwell's British first with e-learning chief

Ruth Bourne, head of support and training at the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (Becta), has been appointed head of e-learning for Sandwell local education authority.

The role, believed to be one of the first of its kind in Britain, is part of the new six-division school improvement service. The other units include: school performance review, school development partnership, pupil achievement initiatives, governance support and curriculum enhancement.

The service is one measure introduced by an interim senior management team supplied by Nord Anglia, brought in by councillors last year after Ofsted heavily criticised the LEA in two consecutive reprts.

Eric Griffiths, head of the school improvement service, said Ms Bourne would co-ordinate the authority's various ICT initiatives and create a strategy to help schools move ahead with e-learning.

He wanted Sandwell to become one of the most innovative applicators of technology and e-learning in schools and said her experience with Becta would help the authority to develop a national profile and pilot projects.

Ms Bourne, who began her career teaching in Sandwell schools, said linking ICT with learning and raising standards would be a focus of the role, which she expected to be "adventurous and challenging". She will begin in June.

Chris Johnston

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