Off line

2nd January 2004 at 00:00
Plenty of people have stayed the course in schools technology from the early days of the Sinclair ZX80s right through to today's interactive whiteboards. But we can't think of anyone who has done as much to get technology into schools as Fred Daly (p78), the outgoing director general of the National Grid for Learning. It hasn't been easy, with plenty of arguments and controversies over the years. But Fred never took his eyes off the prize. On behalf of all the students and teachers who are benefiting from his work, thanks a lot Fred.

Check your school's Microsoft licence as price cuts are expected in line with the BectaMicrosoft "memorandum of understanding" that few people understood when it was announced last month. Schools could expect savings of "pound;46 million over three years, with a further pound;2.5-3.5m anticipated", but neither organisation came up with the figures on which those claims were based. The Observer's John Naughton was merciless; "The truth is that Microsoft could give away its applications software and still make exorbitant profits.,6903,1101372,00.html

The ICT Industry Club is run by the Department for Education and Skills to liaise with its agencies, ICT companies and associations. During the recent kerfuffle in the education software community about the BBC's plan to use pound;160 million of licence payers' money on its Digital Curriculum scheme, it was seen as a useful device to defuse the anger. So when notice of the January meeting went out recently from the DfES, recipients nearly gagged when they saw the name of the person who would be chairing the meeting - Michael Stevenson, DfES director of strategy and communications.

The same Michael Stevenson who, in his former role at the BBC took the lead role in the Digital Curriculum fiasco, and was forced to resign his highly paid job. How reassuring. Offline's ICT Industry Club insider says, "We are assured that he is absolutely impartial. Ha!" Plus a reference to "poacher turned gamekeeper".

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