Brighouse donates wages for laptops

18th February 2000 at 00:00
BIRMINGHAM'S education chief is playing Robin Hood, by donating part of his pound;80,000 salary to buy laptops for the city's poorest youngsters.

Chief education officer Professor Tim Brighouse will give pound;2,000 a year, or one fortieth of his salary, over the next three years to help buy the computers and has called on other big earners to follow suit.

"You can talk about these as the school satchels of the future. It is essential equipment.

"We don't want the richer pupils getting a head-start while everybody else is left behind," Professor Brighouse said.

His money will go into a charitable trust set up by Birmingham council and private-sector partners to provide every child around age 11 with laptops, which cos around pound;1,000 each.

Professor Brighouse backed the TES campaign for all teachers to get a free laptop, raising the possibility of councils paying for them through a similar trust.

Education officers were muted in their response to Professor Brighouse's generous gesture.

But Jackie Strong, director of education for Leicestershire and president of the Society of Education Officers, was more forthright. It is a matter for any individual how they use their disposable income, she believes.

In this case: "If Tim sees the need to offer support to this cause it is a sad indictment of a system that has to rely on the philanthropy of its officers to ensure equality of opportunity for its users," she said.

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