Letter: Schools old and new

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The Independent Culture
Sir: As a governor of a middle school, I read with interest your article "Teachers blamed for IT failures" (17 July), which reports that pupils' progress in IT worsened last academic year despite the multi-million- pound government programme which aims to give every school Internet access by 2002.

This scheme has provided funds for both hardware and some teacher training, but what it does not provide is the wherewithal to pay the bills sent by BT.

After allowing for staff, premises and services, our school has the princely sum of pounds 1.17 per week to spend on each pupil. At current BT daytime rates, we would need to spend more than 50 per cent of this sum to give each child a meagre 15 minutes of online time each week. It's like having a Ferrari in the garage but not being able to afford the petrol to take it on to the road.

In the US, local phone calls are free, and unlimited access to the Net is a part of everyday life. We risk falling way behind in IT because the next generation are being starved of the means for a proper training. And what does Ofsted do? It takes a swipe at the teachers.

Dr STEVE HOGG

Corbridge, Northumberland

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