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What the teachers say;Opinion

If the Government wants us all to have computers, why don't they provide them?

DIANE BLENKINSOP, special educational needs co-ordinator at Moorside junior and infants school, Halifax, said she would not be buying a computer.

"It sounds like they are saying this is needed for the job. If the Government wants us all to have computers, why don't they provide them?"

POLLY PERKINS, head of Robert Kett middle school in Norfolk, said she understood the Government's reluctance to give free computers to all teachers.

"That money would have to come out of the education of children. That is the reality. But it is important that all teachers are computer-literate and have a computer they can use at home.

"I would welcome this money as a way of doing that, but I certainly believe it has to be linked to training. Teachers beyond a certain age did not develop computer skills during their initial training."

DOUG POSTLE, head of technology at Blyth Jex comprehensive school, Norwich, also stressed the importance of helping teachers understand how to use any new equipment they purchased.

"People are pulling their hair out trying to use the equipment they've got. One would like to think that the money would go to allowing teachers to understand computers, to find how they can be used in the specific areas and subjects they work in."

ANNE de A'ECHEVARRIA, a history teacher at Queen Elizabeth high school in Hexham, Northumberland, said she welcomed any extra money but thought the proposed scheme sounded too prescriptive.

"Your average teacher is a bit rushed off their feet. I suspect that if they see an advert for pound;200 linked to having to go on a training course, they will probably give it very little thought."

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