Ballyclare High School is first post-primary school in Northern Ireland to be named a digital school

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  • Ballyclare High School is the first post-primary school in Northern Ireland to be awarded Digital School status through the Digital Schools Awards, which are accredited by the Department of Education.  The honour recognises Ballyclare High’s progressive whole-school approach to the use of digital technology.

    The nationally-recognised status is granted to schools that successfully complete a bespoke three-step programme, which helps driven schools to assess progress and recognise excellence in the use of digital technology while providing practical support and encouragement.

    The scheme is supported by industry partners Hewlett Packard, Microsoft and Intel and schools taking part must evaluate their performance against a set of digital schools’ criteria.  This comprises an overview of Acceptable Usage Policy, Digital Technology Plan, the school website and a short statement outlining recent achievements and highlighting effective use of any tools, practices or initiatives which the school feels deserve recognition.

    Only schools which fully meet the criteria are awarded Digital School status.  As a new Digital School, Ballyclare High will receive ongoing practical support and resources as part of the community of digital schools in Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

    Mr Shaw, ICT Strategy Leader in Ballyclare High School, said:  “We have always taken great pride in being at the forefront of new ICT initiatives in education and the Digital Schools Award programme in Northern Ireland endorses our vision and approach as one that really benefits our pupils.

    “This unique award sets out five clear areas of focus for the academically-robust use of IT that is integrated into all subjects in our curriculum.  We are excited that our teachers are at the forefront of using IT effectively, which makes a positive impact on our pupils’ learning.  

    “The work of the IT Strategy Group within Ballyclare High has made a real impact in the past few years and this honour adds another dimension to our recently-awarded Digital SchoolHouse status.  This also complements the McKinney Microgrant Award scheme that gives small bursaries to teaching staff to help them purchase innovative technologies for their classroom and also our industry links to IT giants, Intel and Microsoft.

    “Our pupils are really benefiting from this ongoing work and we are delighted to make a difference in their lives.”

    Dr Michelle Rainey, Principal of Ballyclare High School, added: “We are delighted to secure the Digital Schools Award, an additional recognition of the forward-thinking approach to digital technology within our school.

    “Digital technology is not only a vital component of the learning experience but also a catalyst through which we aim to equip our pupils with the necessary skills to make positive and appropriate contributions to our school community as we prepare them for life beyond their schooling.”

    Ballyclare High School has 1210 pupils and a teaching staff of 85. It is a progressive grammar school in which there has been a high level of investment in resources and training, creating a culture in which learning and communication are enriched and expectations of achievement are raised. 

    For further information on the Digital Schools Award at Ballyclare High School, visit www.ballyclarehigh.co.uk.

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