Innovative schools project leaves families on Cloud 9
A Caerphilly project which helps to improve pupil attainment and family digital and financial inclusion is set to be introduced in other counties. The Cloud 9 project was launched in November 2014 and which has since been supported by Digital Communities Wales. It has been developed by a partnership involving Get Caerphilly Online, Communities First, Happus.eu, Smart Money Cymru, the local ‘Making the Connections’ Officer and Rhymney Comprehensive School. It helps young people and their families use and take advantage of new technology.
Cloud 9 helps families to purchase affordable devices and enables them to access resources such as the Welsh Government’s Hwb+, and other digital products used by the school. The focus on families is a key aspect of the initiative, ensuring that parents have the digital skills and awareness to support learning at home.
Digital Communities Wales (DCW) has supported the co-ordination of the partnership behind the Cloud 9 initiative. This initially led to the involvement of Rhymney Comprehensive School as a pilot, with activities moving to local primary schools.
DCW involvement has helped set up ‘Digital Afternoons’ sessions, where parents are invited into the school to find out how their children are using technology in the classroom, and how there is a need for a device in the home. Pupils, usually Digital Leaders, have led on part of these sessions to promote digital tools, including Mathletics and Purple Mash, that can be used both inside and outside of school.
In one of the most disadvantaged areas of Caerphilly Borough, 30 parents attended a Digital Afternoon session which was previously unheard of for an activity of this nature in the school.
Follow-up training from DCW is planned for parents, around issues including internet safety and saving money online. It’s also hoped that local housing associations and libraries will become involved in the initiative, to encourage tenants to participate and locate access if they do not have this at home.
Cloud 9 is about to be launched in the Bridgend area at the time of writing, with talks underway in Rhondda Cynon Taf.
“In one of the most disadvantaged areas of Caerphilly Borough, 30 parents attended a Digital Afternoon session which was previously unheard of for an activity of this nature in the school.” said Matthew Lloyd, Digital Communities Wales Co-ordinator for Cardiff, Caerphilly, Newport and the Vale of Glamorgan.
Michelle, who’s a direct beneficiary of the project, told us “I use my laptop that I purchased from cloud9 to write stories and also carry out job searches. I found the Internet Safety training really useful.”