HC Deb 13 June 2002 vol 386 cc1407-8W
Dr. Kumar

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans there are to increase access to IT training for children and adults in Middlesbrough, South and Cleveland, East. [57692]

Mr. Ivan Lewis

The revised National Curriculum requires all pupils aged 5 to 14 to be taught Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and we have a target of 85 per cent. of 14 year olds reaching National Curriculum level 5 or above by 2007. To support schools in reaching this target we have, in particular, a strategy at Key Stage 3 which is currently in pilot and will be rolled out to all schools in the next academic year.

For adults, there are a number of learndirect centres and three UK online centres in Middlesbrough, South and Cleveland, East. Ufi Limited works closely with organisations involved in local hub partnerships to plan and develop local learndirect provision offering a range of on-line courses including ICT and Basic Skills to individuals over 16. UK online centres provide access to the Internet and email to adults in disadvantaged communities who may have low, or no, ICT skills. There are no current plans to open further UK online centres in Middlesbrough, South and Cleveland, East.

Lynne Jones

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement on the effectiveness of ICT training funded by the New Opportunities Fund. [57830]

Mr. Ivan Lewis

The New Opportunities Fund ICT teacher training programme is to ensure that serving teachers feel confident and are competent to teach using ICT within the curriculum, with the aim of raising the standards of pupils' achievements. This is probably the largest scale teacher training programme in the world and over 96 per cent. of eligible teachers and over 99 per cent. of schools have already signed up for the training in England.

However, the programme still has 18 months left to run and it is therefore too early to assess the full effectiveness and to say whether the training is having the desired impact on classroom practice.

However, the recent Ofsted report highlighted a number of positive things about the training, namely that the scheme has raised the profile of ICT training in many schools; has helped teachers to improve their ICT skills significantly and that there has been an unprecedented willingness in the teaching profession to embrace ICT.

The Ofsted report also raised concerns that the training has not had as widespread an effect on classroom practice as might be reasonably expected at this stage of the programme. My Department will be working with NOF and the TTA to ensure that these concerns are addressed and that we establish the most effective support for teachers who are crucial to the successful implementation of the overall ICT Schools programme.

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