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Nottingham leases laptops to kids

Parents pay £5.50 a week, schools pay the extra

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Nottingham has become the first city council to buy laptops for all its school kids. Not that they will be giving them away, but leasing them at around a tenner a week, with contributions coming from schools, parents and local businesses.

It is the largest implementation of Microsoft's Anytime Anywhere Learning initiative so far in the UK.

The funding has been set up according to the e-Learning Foundation charity model. The money will come from parents, schools and local businesses, and other contributors. Because it is a charity, there is no VAT involved, and the tax breaks mean that for the price of four laptops, the school actually gets five.

The laptops remain the property of the foundation, but can be leased at around £5.50 per week (cost to parents) with a £2 contribution from the school, and a further £2 from the tax benefit. There is a sliding scale of cost, and children from poorer backgrounds will pay less down to a minimum of 50 pence per week.

Microsoft's partners in the initiative include Toshiba, Fujitsu and Acer. The company worked with business consultants at Arthur Andersen to design the e-Learning Foundation model.

Nottingham has 42,000 school children, who will all no doubt be Solitaire addicts within a week, just like the rest of us. ®

More information on the AAL can be found at the AAL homepage.

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