THE outstanding work carried out by Durrington High School to support elderly people in the community has been recognised with a national award.
The school, in The Boulevard, has been named as a BT Internet Ranger School of the Year. It has been given £4,000 as a reward for the courses its students and staff have staged over the last two years to help older people learn how to use computers, the internet and other technology.
Karen Purser, business and enterprise manager at the school, said: “Our school is focused on developing our students, and working in partnership with external agencies and the community improves the school and extends the learning opportunities for our students.
“We are thrilled to have won this award and our students’ support has been recognised. Our £4,000 winnings will go towards purchasing new laptops and Ipads.
“We’ll provide next-steps training to our initial learners, introduce them to new technologies and we’ll also be offering our ICT training to community centres and youth groups.”
Students from all year groups worked one-to-one with older people from the community as part of the “silver surfers” project, teaching them how to use computers and the internet to improve their skills and their independence.
The school is also running sessions to teach them how to use mobile phones properly. It will give students the opportunity to share their skills and engage and support the older people in the community.
Funding to hold the courses was given to the school by the Neighbourhood Learning for Deprived Communities (NLDC).
Nick Roberts, from the school, said: “Working on this programme has been vitally important for Durrington High as we share both our expertise and facilities with the local community, which includes areas of deprivation and economic hardship.
“It is the enthusiasm of our pupils and staff for helping others which has enabled us to win this fantastic award, and for this we are immensely proud.”
BT’s Internet Rangers award scheme was set up following research which found nearly a third of parents and grandparents were taught to get online by young people under 16 years old.
BT south east regional director, John Weaver, said: “We are very excited to acknowledge the selfless efforts of Durrington High School pupils who are helping Worthing Silver Surfers to get online in a range of ways and bridge the generational divide of technology.
“With their patience and dedication, they are able to demonstrate how the internet is a very powerful tool and everyone can reap its benefits, no matter what their circumstances or age. Congratulations to all the volunteers and staff at Durrington – your award is richly deserved.”