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The Independent Online
On the day when primary school league tables were published for the first time, I set off in search of educational 'zines - not that it was reasonable to expect any low-budget site to get the results themselves up online, in competition with the newspapers.

I thought I had found something up my street in Educate Online, which proclaimed itself to be "working towards greater recognition of parents' involvement in their children's education". But then I noticed that the site sometimes refers to itself as Ed-u-cate On-line. Alarm bells sounded. The appalling design of the site I could forgive; but "Ed-u-cate"?

I expected to find the site full of stuff about the issues that concern parents (well, this parent) of school-age kids. Do league tables have a meaning? Do or don't we need more chalk-and-talk? Is the Government denying schools the resources they need? Is the pre-school voucher scheme worth the paper it's printed on? But if it's there, I couldn't find it.

In contrast, there is a strong section on home education. And, sure enough, it turns out that two of the three movers behind the site are home educators. This may go some way to explaining why I - as someone suspicious of home education - found the site so disappointing.

The news section is meant to carry "updates on what is happening in the world of education". What that means, it seems, is news about what is going on in a few individual localities.

Internet for Learning does not style itself as a magazine, and it is aimed at teachers rather than parents - there is even a job-search function - but even so it is much more useful to an interested parent. It is hosted by RML, educational computer specialists, and the professionalism shows. There is a good summary of news culled from national papers and specialist journals, and abundant links to a deep pool of resources.

Of course, you cannot talk about education - still less about jobs in education - without mentioning The Times Educational Supplement, and it has a site that is almost as impressively fat as the paper edition. The library section is particularly worth browsing.

Incidentally, if you want direct access to performance results for an individual school, instead of having to scan the published rankings, you can get them at dfee/perform.htm.

Chris Gill

Educate Online

Internet for Learning


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