Inspirational teachers from throughout Northern Ireland were honoured for their positive impact and dedication to the young people they teach at an awards ceremony at Parliament Buildings, Stormont.
The Enthuse Celebration Awards recognise the dedication of teachers in the development of STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and are awarded annually by the National STEM Centre. This year marked the first regional awards event for Northern Ireland and the winners will now go forward to the national celebration event to be held at the Houses of Parliament in London in July.
Yvonne Baker, Chief Executive of STEM Learning said: “The ENTHUSE Celebration Awards showcase the impact of great teaching in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, and the difference it makes to young people and their life chances.
“We are delighted to be working with the Education Authority and many others to support those working so hard across Northern Ireland’s schools and colleges, and celebrate their achievements.”
The Education Authority (EA) has been working in partnership with the National STEM Centre since 2012 to provide high quality development programmes for teachers and technicians aimed at improving outcomes for pupils and schools.
“The aim of the partnership is to develop inspired STEM teaching through the professional development of primary and post-primary teachers and technicians across Northern Ireland,” said EA Chairperson Sharon O’Connor.
“These awards are testimony to the success of that initiative, and are an opportunity to celebrate the excellent STEM work being carried out in our schools. The project is having an important impact; by developing teachers we improve pupil outcomes, and that is a core value of the Education Authority.
“We are very grateful to Project Enthuse, and in particular the Wellcome Trust, who generously fund this programme, and we hope to continue to work in partnership into the future.”
The event was attended by Dr Hilary Levers, Head of Education and Learning at the Wellcome Trust, Dr Sally Montgomery OBE, founding CEO of W5, EA Director of Education John Collings, EA Lead Officer for the Project Enthuse Dr Gillian Humes and representatives from the schools nominated for awards. Guest speaker was Chris Little MLA.
“One of the Alliance Party's goals' is to make Northern Ireland the most innovative and dynamic regional economy in Europe. To do this, we must ensure that we invest in skills, research and infrastructure given that STEM subjects will be essential part of ensuring Northern Ireland's continued growth,” said Mr Little.
“In the face of Brexit and ongoing political instability, Northern Ireland is facing uncertain times and STEM subjects will assist us in realising our economic and social potential.”
The winners are:
ENTHUSE Award for STEM Primary School of the Year
Ballymacricket PS, Glenavy
ENTHUSE Award for STEM Secondary School of the Year
Lisneal College, Derry
ENTHUSE Award for Excellence in STEM teaching – Primary
Michelle Walsh, Edwards PS, Strabane, Co Tyrone
ENTHUSE Award for Excellence in STEM teaching – Secondary
Clare Devlin, Head of Science, St Colm’s HS, Draperstown
ENTHUSE Award for Excellence in STEM teaching – Technicians and Support Staff
Alison Scott, Coleraine Grammar School