Librarians given subsidy brush-off

24th March 2000 at 00:00
SCHOOL librarians are the latest group of education staff to be excluded from the Government's computer rebate scheme.

The Department for Education and Employment has told them there is not enough money to give librarians the same subsidy - of up to pound;500 when they buy a computer - as teachers.

The revelation comes a fortnight after The TES reported that sixth-form college teachers are also ineligible for the rebate.

Kathy Lemaine, chief executive of the School Library Association, said her members were furious at being left out, especially as librarians have been targeted for training under the Lottery-funded programme to help teachers become confident users of information and communications technology.

She said the association, along with the Library Association, had written to the DFEE almost a month ago to make their proest, but had yet to receive a response.

However, even more pressure on funds will follow last week's announcement that teachers will not have to pay tax on the subsidy.

While teachers will get the full pound;500 rather than pound;380 after tax, the DFEE will have to spend about pound;700 for each rebate paid. On this basis some 28,500 teachers - 11,500 fewer than expected - will benefit.

Scottish teachers are now worse off, as their tax-free subsidy is worth only pound;200, yet they are still doing better than their Welsh counterparts. The Welsh Assembly's pound;16 million package to improve school and community access to ICT made no mention of computer subsidies.

Rosemary Butler, the secretary for education and children, said about 200 secondary schools will get ICT suites that can be used by adult learners at night and at the weekends.

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