Education: Teachers overawed by computers

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Many teachers lack confidence in new technology and are insufficiently trained to teach the national curriculum in information technology, a new survey of school heads has found. Eighty per cent of headteachers questioned for BBC2's Computers Don't Bite programme broadcast last night, said teachers lacked confidence in using computers, and 68 per cent said staff did not know enough about information technology to teach it for the national curriculum - 57 per cent said this of even newly qualified teachers. The survey supported findings by Ofsted, the schools inspectorate, which suggested that standards in information technology were weaker than all other subjects.

Nigel De Gruchy, general secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters/Union Women Teachers, said:" [Teachers] are expected to become subject specialists in a whole range of areas overnight and they are just not prepared." He believed that a government-funded centrally co-ordinated training system was needed to bring teachers up to date.

Pre-school campaigners are urging the Government to harmonise regulations covering services from nannies to nursery schools. Ministers say they aim to promote better integration between child care and pre-school education, as part of plans to expand nursery schooling. But the Daycare Trust said that expansion should not be at the expense of quality. Services from birth to the beginning of statutory school age were currently dogged by a proliferation of inconsistent regulations, it said.