Borders quashes talk of 'disaster'

20th July 2001 at 01:00
BORDERS has strongly denied accusations that new technology upgrades in schools have been undermined by the council's pound;4 million budget shortfall.

Local reports have claimed that the installation of computers to link with the National Grid for Learning had been an "educational disaster" but the council has flatly dismissed the allegations.

John Campbell, Borders' acting chief executive, said no funding or equipment had been cancelled and 74 out of the authority's 80 schools had systems that brought them into line with Scottish Executive recommendations. New systems at the other six schools had been "temporarily delayed".

Information technology teachers, quoted in local newspapers, claimed that the council has mismanaged the entire IT programme. It was accused of failing to learn from schemes in other authorities, of imposing draconian security requirements, blocking access to materials, and of leaving teachers unable to file information between home and school.

Borders dismissed the charges as "inaccurate and sensationalist".

Graeme Donald, the council's assistant director of education, said all schools had IT co-ordinators who were ready to assist any member of staff or pupil and a secondary school user group met every two months to iron out difficulties.

"This is an ideal forum for discussion of problems or issues which schools, teachers, education staff or pupils may wish to raise in relation to the ICT system," Mr Donald said.

Education officials met quarterly with secondary heads, he said. The council had an open system of management and councillors received regular reports.

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