HC Deb 06 July 2000 vol 353 cc415-6
11. Mr. Ben Chapman (Wirral, South)

If he will make a statement on the community learning centre being established at Plessington catholic high school technology college. [127930]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education and Employment (Jacqui Smith)

Plessington Catholic high school will become a beacon school in September 2000. It has submitted an expression of interest under the Government's ICT learning centres initiative. The Government office for the north west will work with the school and give it a preliminary assessment by the end of July, so that it can work up a full application by 6 October 2000.

Mr. Chapman

Does my hon. Friend agree that schools such as Plessington have high standards in information technology and communication skills, which can help materially in raising standards? Will she join me in congratulating Plessington on the work it is doing in the context of the community learning sector, in partnership with business, to make those skills and technologies available to people who would not previously have had access to them?

Jacqui Smith

Yes; I am especially pleased that Plessington school will benefit from the beacon schools initiative, which will give it some £32,000 a year on average to share its expertise, which lies especially in using information and communication technology to improve learning, and will also give it the opportunity—as my hon. Friend points out—to work imaginatively with local businesses to ensure that they can deliver locally the national objective of sharing good practice between schools and opening up opportunities in our communities through the use of information and communication technology, for the widest possible learning to take place.

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