Parents Gear Up to Link Technology and History

March 5, 2001

They will investigate their own areas’ local history as they learn new skills in the CLUTCH (Computer Literacy Understanding Through Community History) Club Millennium Award Scheme when their training begins later this month.

The project is being supported by £700,000 of National Lottery funding and is a joint venture between the Open University and the Living Archive, a local documentary arts organisation that teaches parents history research methods.

The parents meet regularly in groups of five or six at their children’s school, which is equipped with a computer, scanner, printer and internet link to help with their research. Their work sees them learning about the latest computer and multi-media technologies and completing a seven-month local history project. They also create websites to present their research – sites that can later be accessed by pupils and the wider community.

A teacher at each school also receives free IT training.

“Many parents are totally baffled by the computers their children use at school, but would love to understand them so they can support their children,” scheme co-ordinator Jane Whild says. “By taking part in this scheme, not only are they learning new skills, but they are creating a bank of local history research which can be used by schools and the community at large.”

Among the projects in the third phase are studies about:

  • the Buckingham Arm of the Grand Union Canal;

  • the history of the Shenley Lodge Estate;

  • life in Wavendon from 1970 to the present day.

Visitors to the CLUTCH Club website at can see examples of the work from earlier phases.

Parents in mid-Bedfordshire, Aylesbury Vale and parts of Northamptonshire are also taking part in the latest phase.


The Milton Keynes schools taking part in the latest stage are: Brooksward Combined School, Caroline Haslett Combined School, Cedars Combined School, Copperfield Middle School, High Ash Primary School, Kents Hill First School, Lavendon Combined School, Sherington First School, Southwood Middle School, Wavendon First School and Wood End First School.

The latest phase is the third and final part of the scheme.