The Ministry of Education has funded the NEAL Education Trust to administer an ICT PD cluster, a similar concept to the local clusters that schools have been running in small groups over the last ten years or so. The regional clusters are aimed at larger groups of schools which are forming as part of various regional "loops", usually (but not necessarily) based around a fibre connected loop.
Membership of NEAL is open to all schools who wish to be involved. It enables schools to take part in a range of professional development opportunities which are being developed. Membership of the cluster (via the Memorandum of Understanding) enables schools to have their own staff directly involved and contributing to the direction of this professionald evelopment and also enables them to take advantage of the closer working relationships between these particpants. The Ministry funding enables the NEAL Education Trust to cover some of the costs associated with this involvement (such as relief cover and payments towards attendance at events).
The Trust set the end of August as the closing date for schools to return their Memorandum of Understanding and to nominate their NEAL Lead Teacher to be part of the lead team with the ICT PD Cluster. This will enable them to gain the benefits (as well as some financial support) from engaging with the cluster project. If schools choose to wait and watch, that's also fine - we will keep them fully informed through this web portal - we think they will want to join fairly soon.
We encourage schools to keep in touch and we will be adding more school Lead Teachers to the cluster as we are able.