Feeds

Parents to get classroom spynet in 2010

Schools minister sets all-seeing-eye targets

The essential guide to IT transformation

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. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Hello, police, El Reg here. Are we a bunch of terrorists now?
Do Brits risk arrest for watching beheading video nasty? We asked the fuzz
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco
'Reset rating keeps secrets on one-dole-to-rule-them-all plan', say MPs
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?
Local UK gov outs most ridiculous FoI requests...
Felony charges? Harsh! Alleged Anon hackers plead guilty to misdemeanours
US judge questions harsh sentence sought by prosecutors
This'll end well: US govt says car-to-car jibber-jabber will SAVE lives
Department of Transportation starts cogs turning for another wireless comms standard
Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!
Give a penguinista a hug, the Outlook's not good for open source's poster child
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.