Newsquest, one of the three largest publishers of regional newspapers in the United Kingdom, including the Keighley News, teamed up with the United Kingdom's leading education website this week.

The website, ( announced it has raised £5.75 million in second-round funding and Newsquest becomes a strategic media partner after taking a significant stake in the website.

Schoolsnet is the one-stop site for parents, pupils and teachers that has been hailed No1 Internet start-up of the year by the authoritative New Media Age magazine.

The fdm group, one of the fastest-growing IT solutions providers in Europe, has also agreed to invest £2m for a 5 per cent stake, to become Schoolsnet's technology partner.

The deal marks a second success for 17-year-old co-founder Tom Hadfield, who created Soccernet - the world's most popular football website - when he was 12.

His father Greg Hadfield, a former Sunday Times education correspondent and news editor, is chairman and editor-in-chief of Schoolsnet, which is due to launch formally on May 3, in the run-up to this summer's GCSE and A-level examinations.

Schoolsnet, which employs more than 30 people at its Westminster offices, will work with Newsquest newspapers and its online ventures to build education content for use both on the Internet and in print.

Specialists from fdm group, with the cutting-edge skills required by Internet technology, will work with Schoolsnet to help ensure it lives up to its reputation as one of the most ambitious websites in the world.

Iain Aiken, managing director of Newsquest Digital Media, said: "There are significant synergies between Schoolsnet and Newsquest's strategy to position our 'This is...' sites at the core of the communities which we serve.

"Information about education is of great importance to those communities and we believe that linking to Schoolsnet will complement our community coverage and bring positive value to Schoolsnet and ourselves."

Rod Flavell, chairman of fdm group, said: "Training and education have been at the heart of our business strategy since 1990.Our partnership with Schoolsnet is seen as a key strategic milestone in the future plans of the group, including our proposed flotation in 2001."

Greg Hadfield, 43, who lives in Brighton, said the partnership with Newsquest and fdm group would enable Schoolsnet to accelerate development and distribution of its unique education content, including state-of-the-art interactive learning materials, non-stop education news, and unrivalled profiles of every school in the United Kingdom.

Mr Hadfield said: " is delighted to have secured the backing of Newsquest and fdm group. Their investment and support means Schoolsnet can move quickly towards achieving its goal to be the No1 education website for parents, pupils and teachers."

Joe Saumarez Smith, Schoolsnet's chief executive, said: "The funding will allow Schoolsnet to strengthen its position as leader in the UK education market.

"Our second round was substantially over-subscribed so we have had the luxury of choosing the best investment partners to ensure our long-term strength."

Converted for the new archive on 30 June 2000. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.