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Last Updated:  Monday, 17 March, 2003, 16:11 GMT
Heads to take computer classes
Thousands of staff to learn how to use computers
Head teachers are to take computer courses aimed at bringing them up to speed with their pupils.

The National College for School Leadership (NCSL) announced 10,000 places would be made available over the next three years.

The Government has invested billions of pounds in computers for schools in recent years and wants all of them to have high-speed internet access.

Electronic whiteboards hooked up directly to the web are an increasingly familiar sight.


But head teachers have been accused of lagging behind pupils in using technology.

Bob Carstairs, assistant general secretary of the Secondary Heads Association, said: "Head teachers are not necessarily the most up-to-the-minute people with computers.

"Often it's generational. But you are now getting head teachers in their thirties who studied computing at school. I think in another five years the situation will be very different.

"I would have thought that training 10,000, rather than all head teachers, would involve some sort of prioritisation. I would suggest teaching the heads of the biggest schools first."

A report last year from the schools watchdog, Ofsted, said the government's 1bn National Grid for Learning strategy was making "an important contribution" to information and communication technology in schools.

But the associated training for teachers, in place since April 1999, was "unsatisfactory" and had "not yet had an impact".

Heather du Quesnay, chief executive of NCTL, based on the Nottingham University campus, said: "Information technology is playing a bigger and bigger part in the work schools do.

"Yet, if it is to be used really effectively to produce the best possible learning experiences for children, it is vital head teachers understand its potential and harness it for the benefit of their schools.

"Of all the staff in a school, the head teacher is often among those with the least formal training, yet they are the ones who need the strategic vision to lead their schools into the future."

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