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Morris: More money for IT in FE

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Education and Skills Secretary, Estelle Morris, yesterday announced £84 million in funding to help Further Education colleges develop IT infrastructure and increase the uptake of Information Learning Technology.

Speaking at Lewisham College in London, Ms Morris said:

Today I am pleased to announce that the Government will provide £42m in 2002-3 and a further £42m in 2003-4 as part of our continuing investment to consolidate and build upon the improvements in IT provision and use within the FE sector.

In the past, IT provision has been too variable for too many learners, and what has been there, has not always had the best use made of it. A key aim is to reduce the ratio of PCs to students to 1:5 by 2002. This money will also help to ensure that more full-time teaching staff and those directly supporting learning have access to an internet-connected computer by 2002.

Significant progress has already been achieved in just two years. The National Learning Network has transformed the FE sector’s IT infrastructure and learning environment for over three million students. Staff will also benefit.

Standards for FE staff in the effective use of IT are being developed and will be used as a basis for staff development. High quality network-enabled learning materials will also provide an innovative new approach to learning for both students and staff.


The Government’s strategy for improving IT in the FE colleges includes

  • A National Learning Network linking all FE colleges to Higher Education institutions by summer 2001. Over 95% of colleges are already connected and the remaining few are committed to connection in the near future.
  • Improved Local Area Networks and additional computer equipment.
  • Training for college technicians.
  • The ‘ILT Champions’ staff development programme – training two members of staff from every college in the use of IT in the teaching and learning. These ’champions’ will then disseminate what they have learnt to colleagues.
  • The Computers for FE Teachers scheme, due to start September 2001, which will provide a subsidy of up to £500 towards the cost of a computer for an estimated 4000 FE teachers.
John Harwood, Chief Executive of the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), said:

I am delighted that the Government is investing £84m to ensure that the Further Education sector in England continues to benefit from the success of the National Learning Network.

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