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Technology Schools

Volume 205: debated on Friday 13 March 1992

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To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) if he will state the total number of individual applications he received for his technology schools initiative, the number successful and unsuccessful, and of the latter the number he regarded as being of a satisfactory standard and the additional cost to his allocated £25 million of agreeing to those applications, together with the criteria he adopted to distinguish the categories of application referred to in the ministerial speech made at Shenley Wood school on 14 February;(2) on what date and in what manner he informed all local education authorities of his schools technology initiative; what criteria he laid down for applications; what maximum costs in capital and revenue were indicated; arid what account was taken of existing provision in maintained schools in the authorities containing successful applicants;(3) if he will state the number of local education authorities making applications in respect of the technology schools initiative together with the number of authorities gaining all, some, or none of their applications, respectively, and the names of those authorities whose applications were satisfactory but unsuccessful.

On 5 December 1991 chief education officers of local education authorities (LEAs) in England were invited in writing to submit up to two projects for funding under the technology schools initiative (TSI). The letter explained that proposals were to be normally for projects in the region of £250,000, although consideration would exceptionally be given to projects costing up to a maximum of £500,000. Priority would be given to bids from schools committed to making good technology provision whatever their existing level of resources. Amongst the factors stated which would be taken into account in assessing bids were:

  • (i) the track record of the school in technology including its use of the technical and vocational education initiative; clear evidence of a commitment to the development of teaching in technology, including plans to develop vocational courses at 14 to 16 and for older pupils;
  • (ii) Existing links with industry—where they are demonstrably effective, including the availability of industrial or business funding to match grant; or resources from within the schools budget;
  • (iii) Existing skills of the school's teaching staff and their enthusiasm for the project; and evidence of high quality school management.
  • Eighty-nine LEAs submitted proposals in respect of 164 schools. In addition, 30 schools submitted projects directly to the Department. In the face of intense competition, the most worthy projects at 62 schools in 50 LEAs have been approved up to a total of £15 million: 12 LEAs received approval for two bids; 38 LEAs received approval for one bid and 39 LEAs were unsuccessful. The remaining £10 million was allocated for projects at VA and GM schools.