Capita Managed IT Solutions and the Education Authority’s C2k Service have announced the winners for the second annual ‘ICT Excellence’ awards. The awards ceremony, held yesterday on Thursday 8th December at The Merchant Hotel in Belfast, celebrated Northern Ireland schools that are demonstrating innovation in their use of technology for teaching and learning.
The awards – established in 2015 – celebrate the innovative and collaborative use of technology in schools across Northern Ireland and the positive impact on students and their wider communities. This year, schools competed under two categories:
Transforming teaching and learning through technology, for schools who have used technology to transform their educational experience and improve the engagement and motivation of staff and students.
Overcoming barriers to learning by empowerment through technology, for schools who used technology to overcome barriers experienced by children whose particular circumstances make it difficult for them to access learning in other ways.
The winning school in the category ‘Transforming teaching and learning through technology’ was St Mary’s Grammar Magherafelt. The judges were impressed by the school’s use of technology to enable their students to direct their own learning, embed technology into the lesson plan process and support innovative approaches such as the ‘flipped classroom’. The judging panel also highlighted the fact that St Mary’s Grammar School’s approach successfully prepared the school’s students for the next step of University or employment.
Deirdre Gillespie, principal of St Mary’s Grammar Magherafelt, said: “This award is a real testament to the hard work of the team at St Mary’s. We have always intended to use technology to enable independent, personalised and self-initiated learning – and it’s made a tremendous difference to the experience and education we’re able to offer our pupils. This has been a huge effort from the entire school – so we’re proud to have that work recognised by Capita and C2k.”
The other finalists in this category were :
- St Columb's College, Derry
- Seaview Primary School, Belfast
- St Mary's College, Derry.
The winning school in the category ‘Overcoming barriers to learning by empowerment through technology’ was Harberton Special School and Outreach Centre in Belfast. The judges recognised the school’s impressive work in developing its technology strategy, the outreach work done to share best practice with other schools in the area and the care with which the school ensured every child was supported in the most appropriate way. Harberton’s multi-sensory approach using iPads has helped improve progress on reading and word knowledge, whilst the use of humanoid robots has assisted pupils significantly on the autistic spectrum and pupils with social difficulties.
Martin McGlade, principal of Harberton Special School and Outreach Centre, said: “We’re thrilled to have been chosen for this award for overcoming barriers to learning by empowerment through technology. The strategy and approach at Harberton has been focussed on using technology to make sure that every child has access to the very specific support that they need. We think this has made a real difference to our pupils, and we’ve worked to share that impact with other schools.”
St Mary’s Primary School in Belfast was also a finalist and awarded runner up by the judges.
The winner of each category will receive a prize fund of £3,000 to spend on ICT equipment from Capita. The runner up in each category will be awarded a £1,500 fund, and highly commended entrants will receive a £1,000 fund.
Tim Matchett, EA Head of C2k Managed Services, said: “C2k are delighted to host the ICT Excellence Awards again this year with Capita. The standard of entries this year was extremely high across all NI schools and their commitment to driving innovation within teaching and learning is a testament to them. I would like to thank all of the schools who entered this year’s awards and offer my congratulations to the winners St Mary’s Grammar and Harberton Special School.”
Ed Brown, Managing Director for Capita Managed IT Solutions, said: “The ICT Excellence Awards are a great opportunity for Northern Ireland schools not only to showcase their use of ICT in the classroom but also to share their experiences with other schools. Capita and C2k are proud to be part of that process. The prize funds awarded will help aid those schools in their future technology teaching and learning plans. Congratulations to all those who entered, the six schools shortlisted finalists and winners St Mary’s Grammar and Harberton.”