12th September 1997 at 01:00
Dennis Stevenson, the author of the Labour party-commissioned Stev-enson Report on information and communications technology (ICT) in UK schools, is conducting a review of the National Council for Educational Technology (NCET). His report back is expected later this month.

The Government's plans for major developments in educational ICT, like the National Grid for Learning and the University for Industry, require evaluation of the organisations responsible for introducing them. Mr Stevenson is expected to play a pivotal role in co-ordinating the new policies.

The NCET has played a key role in all government ICT initiatives for schools, but suffered from the last government's failure to develop a coherent strategy in this area. Its former chief executive, Margaret Bell, resigned unexpectedly in January after pressure from the Department for Education and Employment. Last week the NCET formally announced the appointment of its new acting chief executive, Owen Lynch, head of Orgill Junior School in Cumbria, who has been involved with the NCETfor several years as a member of its council.

He said: "This is a wonderful opportunity to engage in the process of defining the future role of the NCET in conjunction with government and the NCET's council in an exciting and changing political educational agenda."

Mr Lynch has a successful record in ICT in schools. The way Orgill School pioneered the use of technology for pupils, staff and parents in the community, was influential in the establishent of Cumbria's Credits scheme (Community Regeneration through the Development of IT Skills). This uses local schools as the focal point for running RSA or NVQ courses for their communities.

A Surrey company that specialises in electronic mail is offering to help the Government realise its pledge that all children over the age of nine will have their own personal e-mail addresses.

Under a sponsorship scheme launched by The Personal Email Company, students and teachers at four test schools in Surrey are getting their own personal e-mail accounts, said to be worth Pounds 20 each per year.

The Surrey-based company is also allowing each school to nominate up to three other schools here or abroad, to receive similar sponsorship. If the project is successful, the company will open it up to all UK schools next summer.

The e-mail service is situated on the World Wide Web (most are supplied by Internet providers), so subscribers can access their accounts from any machine connected to the Web, irrespective of service provider.

Remy Minute, Hoppingwood Farm, Robin Hood Way, London SW20 OAB. Tel 0181 336 2345. Web address: http: Everything you need to know about the universe: how it began, how it works and how it will end, and all on one CD-Rom. The History of the Universe (Pounds 19.99) journeys through galaxies and the solar system while discussing everything from Newton's laws of motion through to relativity and quantum mechanics.

Available from Ransom Publishing, Ransom House, 2 High Street, Watlington, Oxfordshire OX9 5PS. Tel 01491 613 711.

Maureen McTaggart Sparrowhawk Heald Ltd, developer and publisher of educational multimedia resources, wants to develop a CD-Rom for primary schools that will allow pupils to make use of Internet resources without the need for Internet connection. The company is asking teachers to let them have details of any useful Internet sites they have found, with details of the context in which they are being used. Anyone interested should contact Estelle Attenborough by phone (01223 576241), fax (01223 566842), e-mail ( or Sparrowhawk Heald Ltd, FREEPOST ANG6300, Cambridge CB4 lGZ.


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