Winning ways of lottery IT trainers

25th May 2001 at 01:00
The New Opportunities Fund is pleased to be funding a pound;230 million programme to train teachers in using computers and new technology ("pound;230m lottery scheme attacked", TES, May 11).

It is the largest-ever exercise in in-service teacher training and, if successful, will transform the way that teachers teach. At this point (about halfway through the programme) about 300,000 teachers have signed up. By the end of the programme we hope to reach the vast majority of the UK teaching force.

This month's interim report by the Office for Standards in Education acknowledged that the training was helping develop the competence and confidence of teachers in using ICT. It was, however, too early to draw firm conclusions as to whether it was influecing teaching in the classroom. Firmer conclusions will be possible in future reports.

The interim report includes important lessons for the fund (about raising the profile of the programme), for local authorities and schools (about getting maximum benefit from the programme) and for the Government (on possible developments which would build on our programme). It is a valuable contribution to the debate.

It is, therefore, disappointing that The TES chose to present the report as an attack on the scheme, which it clearly was not, and to conflate its results with that of a separate, unpublished report.

Stephen Dunmore

Chief executive

New Opportunities Fund

Heron House

322 High Holborn

London WC1

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