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Self-help schemes for teachers

Professional development and higher targets are highlights of the government's plans for education.

More training for new teachers and sabbaticals for those working in tough schools are among the Government's plans to boost professional development. A programme of measures costing pound;92m has been announced. Some 70,000 serving teachers are intended to benefit over the next three years. More than pound;100m will also be available for literacy and numeracy training in 2001-02. The measures, which were first mooted in the DFEE's green paper Schools:Building on Success, include: learly professional development in the second and third years of teaching; la scheme to provide teachers in challenging schools with the chance to take short sabbaticals for personal and professional development, activity and research; lopportunities for teachers to look at best practice internationally; la pilot programme giving teachers up to pound;700 to support their own professional development; la new continuing professional development website as part of TeacherNet -

lbest practice research scholarships of up to pound;3,000, supporting teacher enquiry and classroom-based research for 1,000 teachers (this programme will start its second year in the spring); The funding includes pound;25m for sabbaticals, pound;25m for early professional development and an extra pound;30m for the professional bursaries programme.

Meanwhile, teachers who were looking forward to an end to government targets in 20002 may be disappoined - the Government is planning to consult on higher targets for 2004.

The Green Paper proposes that 85 pe cent of 11-year-olds should be expected to reach level 4 in English and maths, with 35 per cent achieving the advanced level 5. Headteachers' and teachers' leaders have already protested that such targets would put unfair pressure on schools.

The Green Paper also sets out the Government's intentions to: lnarrow the achievement gap between geographical areas and between pupils from different social and ethnic backgrounds; lfurther improve the adult:pupil ratios; lencourage more use of classroom assistants and specialist teachers in art, music, drama and PE; limprove the transition from primary to secondary school; lgive priority to enriching the primary curriculum and increasing out-of-school activities available in sport and the arts. For instance, a pilot will be launched late this year of Culture Online, which will give pupils and teachers a chance to interact with artists, museums, theatres and digital creators "to explore all aspects of British culture and heritage and to develop their own creative skills in all aspects of arts, film and design".

The Government also pledges that, by 2004, any early years setting that is not providing satisfactory or better progress towards the Early Learning Goals will have to put in place a clear improvement plan.

Details of the existing DFEE-funded opportunities can be found on the following websites:Professional bursaries;Best practice research scholarships;Teachers' international professional development;Individual learning accounts

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