Inner-city learning centres unveiled;News

12th November 1999 at 00:00
Thirty-two City Learning Centres will be up and running by September next year, the first under the Excellence in Cities initiative.

They are the first of a planned 80 centres and each will receive about pound;1.7million in their first three years to provide technology-based learning and teaching opportunities for inner-city schools.

Estelle Morris, the school standards minister, said the centres will act as pioneers for innovation and will support gifted pupils, provide after-school and holiday learning and language laboratory and cybercafe facilities.

There will be 11 centres in London, six in Birmingham, two each in Leeds, Bradford, Liverpool, Sheffield, Rotheram, Manchester and Salford and one in Knowsley. Another seven are scheduled to open in September 2001.

The first seven of a planned 720 ICT Learning Centres, funded by pound;450 million from the Capital Modernisation Fund, have also been announced. As well, a number of learning centres in libraries - "e-libr@ries" -will be funded by the Lottery's New Opportunities Fund.

Michael Wills, the learning and technology minister, last month confirmed that teachers would get at least pound;200 to help them buy a computer from a pound;20 million fund. However, they must be taking or have completed the Lottery-funded ICT training. New headteachers are a little more fortunate: Prime Minister Tony Bair told a London conference all new heads would receive a laptop.

Mr Wills also said that up to 100,000 recycled computers will be provided for low-income families over the next three years from a pound;15 million fund.

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