This year, elearning@luton, Luton’s City Learning Centre on Sundon Park Road, has been open for five years. During that time the centre has worked with nearly fourteen thousand individual learners of all ages and abilities and has allowed schools and the community in the Luton area to access state of the art ICT equipment with a focus on digital imaging and music technology.
The centre is one of over a hundred CLCs (City Learning Centres) across the country, but it is the only one in the eastern region. It has six different teaching and learning spaces including a television studio, Mac and PC Suites, and sound recording studios. Learners in Luton from ages two through to adults have utilised the facilities, including those with special needs and those who are disaffected or disengaged from mainstream education. Such is the popularity of the centre that children from Suffolk, Surrey and Nottingham have travelled to elearning@luton to access the courses on offer.
The purpose of the centre has been to raise aspiration and achievement for all. A raise in GCSE Music results over the past five years has been directly attributed to the centre and NCFE qualifications offer students the opportunity to gain the equivalent of two GCSEs in music studio production. Digital video is a strength of the centre and over the past two years work produced by Luton pupils at elearning@luton has been shortlisted for the National Cineclub and TAG Learning Film and Animation Awards and has won seven awards in the National Making The News competition. Last year, pupils who had previously taken part in Cineclub, an after school filmmaking club at the centre, worked in conjunction with Film Education Luton and Bedfordshire to produce a trilogy of time travel films that won the UNICEF UK Young Filmmaker of the Year Award and has been shortlisted for the First Light Films National Awards.
The expertise of staff at the centre has been recognised by guest appearances on “Teachers TV” and a regular slot at the BETT Education Show at Olympia, London, to showcase the good practice taking place at the centre. In October of last year the elearning@luton staff team won an award for Supporting Students with their Practice, Learning and Development in the Celebrating Excellence Awards sponsored by Luton Borough Council and the University of Bedfordshire.
Last year elearning@luton was utilised by learners from every junior, primary and secondary school in Luton – a total of nearly 2,500 learners. The aim of the centre remains to deliver “Tomorrow’s Learning Today”.