I would like to address two points made in your editorial (TES Online, April 16) to avoid any misunderstandings about the New Opportunities Fund ICT training initiative.
The figures for the number of training providers that convinced us they had the appropriate skills and expertise to be approved in the first round were correct. We are confident that the coverage of training providers is sufficient to offer a choice in all subjects and phases. Our second application round later this year will aim to increase the number of providers and widen further the choices for schools.
You also questioned whether we are establishing the necessary quality-assurance and evaluation mechanisms. We see this as key to the success of the scheme and we are working with the Teacher Training Agency, the Office for Standards in Education and the inspectorate in the other UK countries to pilot quality-assurance systems this term. We intend to implement the mechanisms fully by the autumn, when a substantial proportion of teachers are likely to choose to begin their ICT training.
The Department for Education and Employment has also asked Ofsted to carry out a full evaluation of the impact of our programme on pupil achievement.
Stephen Dunmore, Chief executive, New Opportunities Fund