Feeds

Parents to get classroom spynet in 2010

Schools minister sets all-seeing-eye targets

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Every parent of a secondary school pupil will have online access to real-time data on their child's behaviour by 2010 under new targets set today by schools minister Jim Knight.

The government wants all schools to provide secure access to information on "behavioural events" as they happen, in the belief that parents feel shut out of education. Primary schools must deploy the technology by 2012, Knight said in a speech to education IT providers.

In the meantime, schools will be ordered to step up existing paper reporting on pupils to once a term.

The minister demonstrated a system built by outsourcing giant Serco, already deployed by a school in Derbyshire. It also reports information on attendance, pending homework, and test results.

A separate scheme will see pilot technology that sends parents text messages when their child is absent expanded to cover 200 schools.

"This isn't a substitute for personal contact," Knight said of the raft of technology projects. "It will augment and supplement it."

Teachers' groups have insisted that the plan must not add to their members' workload, while the education procurement agency BECTA recently released research pointing out that many struggle to use existing IT. The National Union of Teachers today called for an independent assessment of the impact of real-time reporting technology in schools.

Spending to make online reporting universally available is underway. Heading off potential criticisms that the initiative is a sop to nannying middle-class voters, Knight said: "All these plans which depend on technology risk widening the gap between the have and the have-nots unless we can make the technology available to all."

BECTA has earmarked £600,000 for six trials to roll out broadband and computers to low income families. It's estimated that more than one million children do not have a computer or internet access at home.

Knight repeated his assertion that the government will pressurise broadband, hardware, and software providers into giving taxpayers a good deal. "I believe the market will respond with an affordable solution," he said.

He added that government has so far designated £30m in subsidies. A consultation on how access should be bankrolled and deployed begins today.

More details on the access plans are expected when Knight's Home Access Task Force (latest update here) reports in April.

Industry reaction to the initiative has been bemused, but unsurprisingly welcoming. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Britain's housing crisis: What are we going to do about it?
Rent control: Better than bombs at destroying housing
Top beak: UK privacy law may be reconsidered because of social media
Rise of Twitter etc creates 'enormous challenges'
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
Oz biz regulator discovers shared servers in EPIC FACEPALM
'Not aware' that one IP can hold more than one Website
Apple tried to get a ban on Galaxy, judge said: NO, NO, NO
Judge Koh refuses Samsung ban for the third time
Pedals and wheel in that Google robo-car or it's off the road – Cali DMV
And insists on $5 million insurance per motor against accidents
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?