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From unmade road to superhighway

The computer wizardry of Bournemouth and Poole College has transformed the experience of sixth formers at Martin Kemp Welch school in nearby Poole. "It has opened a whole new world," says Helen Rogers, head of the sixth form. "Six years ago, we had an unmade road rather than an information superhighway. The only computers were BBCs and Amstrad PCWs. We eventually got one stand-alone PC with access to the Internet, but the phone line had to be shared with the school office."

The school's first cohort of advanced GNVQ students found it very difficult to do the research needed for their courses, which demand independent study skills and making contact with different companies. "They wrote hundreds of ltters which were unanswered. When you use e-mail, firms do respond," says Ms Rogers.

The school has now received 15 Internet computers, a server, ISDN lines and video-conferencing through a joint ILT project pioneered by Bournemouth and Poole College. Students are able to tap into GNVQ courseware which has been jointly created by the school and the college.

"We have felt very supported by the college. The whole learning resources team has been so helpful," says Ms Rogers.

Although the school has recently been placed under special measures, Ofsted inspectors praised the sixth form, describing it as a "strength of the school". Twelve students have places for university this year.

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