pound;50m for teachers' computers

30th March 2001 at 01:00
THE Government is to inject another pound;50 million into its much-criticised Computers for Teachers scheme, technology minister Michael Wills told The TES this week.

Mr Wills said the money, which will be spent over the next three years if Labour wins the next election, will allow another 70,000 teachers to get rebates of up to pound;500.

However, the Government has postponed deciding which teachers should qualify, following criticism of its previous handling of the scheme.

Earlier this year, there were floods of complaints after ministers decided to limit subsidies to key stage 3 maths teachers.

Mr Wills is now inviting suggestions from the profession about how the new cash should be divided up. Ministers expect to take a decision over the summer.

There has been speculation that the Government could solve its dilemma by targeting the subsidies at schools, rather tha teachers. However, Mr Wills said he favoured the "personal ownership" approach, though he wanted to listen to teachers' views. The minister told The TES that he regretted the scheme's unpopularity with some teachers.

But he said he had fought hard for the extra funds. By 2004, ministers will have committed more than pound;75m to the rebates, benefiting more than 100,000 teachers.

Mr Wills said: "I'm sorry that people have been disappointed and angry in the past. But this is money that is going to teachers for something which I hope they will find useful in their profession.

"It's not something that the Government is offering to any other profession."

Teachers can comment through www.cft.ngfl.gov.uk, phoning 0870 2414938, or by writing to the Department for Education and Employment, Sanctuary Buildings, Great Smith St, London SW1P 3BH.

Warwick Mansell

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