We need money - not advice

4th July 1997 at 01:00
Seeing the headline "Labour plans help for staff buying computers" (TES, June 20) I read on avidly, but with increasing dismay. It seems the intention is to give teachers help in choosing products - with the emphasis on software.

I hope that when the Government publishes its White Paper on information technology in schools there will be some good news for teachers of another kind: financial. Teachers know that they cannot expect more to be spent on equipment, but they might reasonably expect help which need not be at a heavy cost to the Exchequer.

I thought it was accepted that the best (and cheapest) way of consolidating what has already been achieved is to ensure a high level of staff access to computers, preferably via personal ownership.

If the White Paper contains no positive financial incentives or allowances, then I shall assume that the new administration either does not listen or is continuing with the cynical assumption that teachers can be relied on to subsidise the continuing development of IT.

If someone is assuming that I will soon replace my ageing machine (95 per cent of its use is in connection with my teaching job), continue to run and insure it, buy a modem, sign up with an Internet provider and bear the increased phone bills, then I think I will be justified in feeling angry.

Enlightened initiatives by the Government would be both a good investment and a means of neutralising some of the resentment that the previous administration seemed to work so hard to create.

JOHN ELTON-WALL, 18 Raynes Road, Lee-on-Solent, Hampshire

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