Please forgive the intrusion but I felt I needed to write to tell you about the ICT Village at Cecil Jones High School, Southend. The ICT Village is a purpose-built Community Computer Centre housing 121 computers, sponsored and used by local business and community members. Its air conditioned environment provides excellent learning areas in "neighbourhoods" of 15 to 30 computers which are used during school time by classes from the school, and at other times by the community, and before and after-school clubs etc.
The centre opens at 7.30am each day and fills up quickly with students engaged in homework, Internet and intranet investigations, website creation etc. At the end of the day our staff are involved in teaching local community members and those from local businesses alongside our own students.
All students study ICT in every year at Cecil Jones High School and have the opporunity with local citizens to study in our NVQ centre where 25 different awards are available, or in our Cisco Networking Academy which has recently opened with increasing demand from our local community. The ICT Village closes its doors at 9pm ready for an early start the next day.
Being an IT for All centre, 560 adults have already received free taster courses run by staff volunteers. The notion of the ICT Village has always been to give open access to all to use computers without the need for sharing. This has included staff at the school who now feel confident bringing their classes to the ICT Village as help is never far away.
I trust that you and your readers may find the concept of the ICT Village interesting as have the many visitors to centre since it was opened by Sir Teddy Taylor in September 1999.
Andrew Hutchinson Cecil Jones High School, Southend, Essex