The study centre at the County Ground closed down on 15 February after 12 years delivering a popular IT service to adults and schools, due to the withdrawal of the Playing for Success grant in the latest round of government education cuts.
Director of the centre Martin Turnbull said, “there has been a lot of disappointment at the news that after the end of February the study centre will no longer operate at its current premises.”
The centre was officially launched in April 1999 by then education secretary Charles Clark. Run by a charitable trust it has successfully provided IT access and training to adult learners and disengaged pupils alike.
“The sad thing is that we were never given a chance to cut costs or operate on a reduced budget. We were told in September that we had three months to replace our funding of £105,000, or close down,” said Martin. “Thankfully Nick Capstick, chair of the study centre trustees, and head of Drove, Mountford Manor and Croft schools, has offered the service an office and training room free of charge for a year at Drove People’s Campus. After that I shall have to see if there’s a market to provide this service on a freelance basis.”
The study centre will be relaunching in April from its new premises, and will continue to operate as a regional training centre for Apple Education, as well as offering opportunities to learn robotics and control technology.
For information call Martin Turnbull on 07814 026797.
Pictured above, David Wren, Swindon’s Mayor in 2009, launching the Apple Education Training Centre. Below, Westlea children showing off their work to Swindon mayor David Wren with headteacher Suzanne Seaton, Apple educator Joe Moretti, left, and Swindon Town goalkeeper Phil Smith
From 28 December 2009: Macs make inroads into Swindon schools
The power of Macintosh computers were demonstrated at an Apple Education Day at the Swindon Town Education Centre.
Children from primary schools showed how they had easily mastered the skills to produce cartoons and stop-frame animations on laptops and video cameras after only two weeks’ loan.
Children at Westlea Primary School made a short dragon slayer animation with a set made by teaching assistant Trudy Talbot. Headteacher Suzanne Seaton was so impressed that she has put off decisions on buying new computers until more Apple software is evaluated.
Dominic Stroud from Red Oaks said, “me and my friend Megan made a cartoon and also a comic. I’d never used an Apple but it was easy and quick, we had a lot of fun.”
The County Ground education centre coordinator Martin Turnbull said the facility had been designated an Apple Education Regional Training Centre to help more children from Swindon schools experience the creativity made possible by Macintosh equipment and software.
On the day, Apple educator Joe Moretti demonstrated how even the most musically challenged person can easily create digital music using Garage Band software. He showed how the results can be incorporated in the curriculum and can be distributed across the school and the internet.