Building the resources of Schools Interchange - a huge undertaking, far greater than initially realised - has been a massive project stretching over a very long time. The first links went up in March 1999 ..... and we would like to thank a significant number of people worldwide for sending in items of relevant information that enabled us to start drawing together the basics of this massive index to local school-nets across the world.
Back in 1999, the Internet was not as well connected as it is now! and finding most of the resources was like looking for a needle in a haystack. Things have improved a lot since then, although tracking down many of the school-nets - and even sometimes the Government sites and education departments - has been a *long* process.
Now, however, Schools Interchange is finally in place (and massively restructured and updated in January 2011) ..... a way of finding schools just about anywhere. Even now, not everyone has the Internet (and not all governments have websites yet) but Schools Interchange has to be the most comprehensive collection of links to school-nets anywhere on the planet.
We're talking *local* school-nets - not pages which list a few schools from lots of countries, but school-nets that link to schools local to *them*. Ideally without commercial links, search engine links or chatroom links - we've aimed to find places that aren't plastered with banners and flashing graphics, and that link only to reputable sites.
For nearly every area of the world we now have a "starting point" for finding schools' websites in that area - and have often been able to link to the pages where those websites are listed, so that schools across the planet can make more contacts with one another.
If you want to make a difference, please do pass on the address of Schools Interchange, or link to us: this is the *only* place in the world where all these worldwide links are gathered together in conjunction with our projects helping kids pages which highlight organizations helping children in virtually every country worldwide.
Our unremitting thanks go to the people named below, who sent in information for Schools Interchange from March 1999 to June 2004 [designations are those which applied at the time]. Credits are in no particular order! though we've tried to keep them grouped by continent, where possible.
The very *first* person who helped, was Iseult McCloskey, who gave us the address of RESTENA, the National Network for Education and Research of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg - this was to be our first positive step on a very long road of bringing together the network of links to schools' websites worldwide.
Vlad Tikhomirov, for info about "Russian School Education on the Internet, located at School No. 172 in Moscow: "this is a humanitarian school with deep/profound study of Russian language and Russian literature, also some national cultural festivals" ;
AdiM, System Administrator at "B.P.Hasdeu" High School, Buzau, Romania, for details of RoEduNet, the Romanian authority connecting schools in a national computer network and to the Internet. "RoEduNet doesn't cover all schools with an Internet connection, because some schools are sponsored by companies and were not connected through RoEduNet, but there are a significant number of schools websites listed"; the Iceland education department; Suresh Lala for our initial schools' listings in India; Vladimir Batagelj, University of Ljubljana, Department of Mathematics, for details of the Slovenian Education Network.
Our thanks to Artur G Nunes of UARTE who provided details of URLs for Portuguese schools listings, at a time when the ministry sites were extraordinarily difficult to find your way around, particularly if you didn't speak Portuguese! and also to Joao Correia de Freitas of UARTE who helped out with university listings. The Government sites are now much easier to navigate, with comprehensive schools' listings and in some cases, click-able maps ..... we're sad to say though, that we've been unable to re-locate the previous UARTE pages anywhere.
Special thanks to Arash Farahmand at Japan Window who linked to Project HappyChild back in 1999 and enabled us to link to over 6000 Japanese schools on line. Sadly Japan Window seems to have run its course (research project?) and the schools links are gone, though fortunately we've recently discovered new listings elsewhere. In the early days though, these USA/Japan links to here and back again enabled a lot of schools to begin making contacts across the world, at a time when finding Japanese school websites was otherwise virtually impossible.
When we were looking originally for schools on line in Japan, we had great difficulty locating any listing that wasn't either minimal, massively out of date, or primarily in Japanese. Having drawn a blank everywhere else, it was realised that Australasia was in the same geographical region and a school website was picked at random, in Australia, to see if it might have anything at all about Japan. By some extraordinary coincidence, the website selected was Mt. St. Bernard College (The Sisters of Mercy) via BushNet (in Australia) - where Mark Ivory (a teacher there at the time) had established a Japanese resource with a strong collection of links. It was exploring these, and their out-links, through a long progression of sites, that led us eventually to Japan Window, at that time the optimum resource for Japanese school sites on the Internet as a whole. Mark Ivory has since moved schools and we're sorry to report also that BushNet has now ceased operation. Our thanks to Mark for advising us of the latter.
We'd also like to thank Davin Arul, Vice-President, I.STAR Sdn Bhd, Malaysia, for sending us the address of the Ministry of Education site in Malaysia, and details of their links page for schools with websites in Malaysia; also Vladimir Batagelj, University of Ljubljana, Department of Mathematics, Slovenia, for sending the original URL for schools in Spain, and Hubert Christiaen in Belgium for detailed information of revised listings of schools in Spain; Karianne Helland at the Norwegian SchoolNet
for telling us how to locate their schools' websites listings; and André Rombauts of Edubel who kindly sent in our original resource for French-speaking schools in Belgium.
Our thanks to Phil and Jan in Macau for sending in the URL for the Macau School Network. Phil & Jan (who first wrote to the Guestbook here back in April 1999) were subsequently associated with the Choi Kou School. Thanks are due also to Emmanuel Flaction (webmaster) for details of EduNet Switzerland, a network of public schools that work together - links to EduNet schools from the Switzerland entry.
Thanks also to John M.M. Cable [originally from Scotland], Form master of 1S at Wah Yan College, Kowloon, Hong Kong SAR, People's Republic of China, who sent us the URL for all schools' websites in Hong Kong as long ago as December 1999, and to Chris Smith who e-mailed us some information about the English Schools Foundation: "A group of fifteen international schools in Hong Kong offering an English-based education to over 10,000 students aged 5 to 18 of over fifty different nationalities."
Our thanks to Asif, Webmaster at Africa-Online in Malawi, for advising us that there was as yet no School Net in Malawi, and for forwarding details of listings at Zikomo.Net (a Malawi business directory) for a small number of nursery schools, primary schools, secondary schools and universities. We very rarely link to this type of resource but sometimes make an exception where there is genuinely no "official" or "academic" source of information.
We've had a lot of help for England, Scotland, Wales and islands around the UK: Louise Basquill at Bedfordshire LEA * Lorraine Rossiter, Technical Services Manager at Cheshire County Council * Will Austin, Administration Manager at Exeter City Council * Linda Duffy, main Web Editor for Dorset LEA * Nigel Boyes, Development Analyst, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council * Peter Child, ICT Governor (2 schools) (East Riding of Yorkshire) * Nicola Wright at Hull City Council Internet Unit * Chris Nicole, Senior Web Assistant, Hull City Council Internet Unit * Gloucestershire County Council * Helen Reade, Multi-media Editor at Hackney * Seamus Oates, ICT Officer for Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Education & Libraries * Lynne Heavens of Rushey Green Primary, Lewisham * Danny Budzak at Newham Borough * Anita Gebarowicz, ICT Advisory Teacher and Schools' Internet Co-ordinator, Stockport * Audrey Barrett, Teaching Services, Blackburn with Darwen * Paul Harrison, Data Co-Ordinator at Norfolk County Council * Brenda Scoble, Web Team Content Manager, Northamptonshire * Rik (North Yorkshire) * Dave Taylor, Development Consultant at City of York Council * Claire Openshaw, Web Manager at City of York Council * Emily Clare Lee (Staffordshire) * the Information Team at Gateshead * Emma Georgeson, Communications Unit, South Tyneside Council * Angela Pownall, Warwickshire Web Editor * Stuart Orford, Internet Technical Support Officer, IT Services, Dudley MBC * Sarah Hinksman, Electronic Publishing Manager, Solihull MBC * Helen Barlow (Walsall) * Peter Thomson at Wolverhampton Council * David Waite, Web Designer at Bradford * John Stephens (Swindon) * Dave Thomson, Inspector ICT (Worcestershire) * Rachael Shaw, Community Officer, Worcester City Council * Christopher Coyle, Principal Officer, Intranet Development, Education Department, City of Edinburgh Council * Roddy Stuart of the Microcomputer Development Centre in Glasgow * Alan Scott, parent and editor of Holmston Primary School web pages (South Ayrshire) * Lesley Duff and Alistair Mackenzie at NGFL Scotland * Colin Lavelle (Conwy) * Mike Danford, Head of IT at Neath Port Talbot * Mark Davies at Baglan IT (Wales) * Malte Aronsson, Sweden (re Isle of Man Government).
And finally ....! our thanks to the following schools who were the first to appear on the Schools Interchange pages (we haven't listed schools individually for a long time now, since we understood that linking to local-school-nets was a better approach for all concerned) ..... and to the various people at those schools who contributed lots of ideas and information in the early stages of Schools Interchange going on line. The schools (in the order they registered here) were: Beaupré Community Primary School (Cambridgeshire, England, UK), Broughton CE Primary School (Lancashire, England, UK), Burdett-Coutts & Townshend Foundation C of E Primary School (London, England, UK), Beech Hill Community Primary School (Greater Manchester, England, UK), Escola Internacional São Lourenço (Almancil, Algarve, Portugal), Sutton-on-Sea Community Primary School (Lincolnshire, England, UK), Welford and Wickham CE Primary School (Berkshire, England, UK), Wallerscote Community School (Cheshire, England, UK), David Livingstone Community School (Manitoba, Canada, North America), Adams' Grammar School (Shropshire, England, UK), Ackworth School (Yorkshire, England, UK), Culver City Unified School District (California, USA, North America), Herberton State School (Far North Queensland, Australia, Australasia).
Thanks must of course go, somewhere on this page, to the immortal Christina de Mello. Her listings of universities on the Internet, made in 1995/1996, proved an invaluable resource which was unmatched anywhere else for some years afterwards. Gradually the education departments in countries across the world have begun to make links to their local universities, but Christina's lists initially provided a much-needed network which has helped to accelerate the linking process for people across the whole Internet worldwide.
And last - but by no means least - our thanks to Matthew Charlesworth and his Electronic Schoolbook which gave us our first links to schools' websites in South Africa. TES has been largely incorporated into the provincial set-ups now, and sadly Matthew's network is no longer available, but this was originally one of the fundamental building blocks for Schools Interchange and deserves a mention here for posterity.