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TC Trust offers lease deal for portable PCs

A laptop leasing initiative set up by the Technology Colleges Trust as an alternative to the government's Computers for Teachers scheme could be available to all teachers if it is successful.

Initially only teachers in the 700 schools affiliated to the Trust will be able to lease the computers, which will cost about pound;8 a month.

However, Nigel Paine, TC Trust chief executive, said the Department for Education and Employment (DFEE) could help widen access to all schools depending on the success of the scheme.

Meanwhile, a consortium involving Toshiba and communications company Nortel is planning to launch a scheme which willoffer portable computers to teach-ers in education action zones for pound;5 a week.

The deal, to be launched at the Education Show in Birmingham later this month, will include Internet access with free phone calls. Parents and teachers also will be able to buy laptops at half the retail price.

The Southend-on-Sea action zone is spending pound;340,000 on giving the 425 teachers at its 17 schools a laptop computer. School leasing company ABK is helping meet the cost.

In Wales, 270 secondary heads and 330 primary numeracy teachers will get a laptop under a National Assembly education department plan.

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