The future certainly looks bright for Ashwood Park primary school in Stourbridge. It is one of the 105 schools run by Dudley council which are about to see their ICT facilities transformed as part of a pound;43m private finance initiative agreed last autumn.
Equipment, training and educational resources are to be provided by a consortium led by the computer supplier RM. For Ashwood, this means the school will receive 30 new computers, a school-wide network and a training package to bring teachers' IT skills up to scratch.
Ashwood will also get a state-of-the-art connection to Dudley's learning grid, a communications network provided by BT. This will also link in with the national grid and the wider Internet. Teachers will also receive laptops in September. Pupils will be able to speak to others at schools in Dudley and beyond via video-conferencing equipment.
The school is also likely to link up with a new intranet for the local authority, to be developed for the exchange of management data as part of an enhanced administrative system for the borough. Much of a teachers' admin may be computerised, using remote, portable devices.
Though the details have not yet been finalised, Alan Jones, the headteacher, sees the developments as exciting and useful on a number of levels. Apart from gaining a lot of new equipment, he foresees it will release teachers from the nitty-gritty of developing and maintaining their growing computer system. Instead, they will be able to concentrate on considering the educational use and curriculum value of their systems.
"The possibilities here are endless - the school will be quite different in three or four years' time. But we don't have the new equipment yet. What we have is a vision. It's very exciting, but also very daunting. It's important we don't get carried away."