Today (22nd February), 21 primary schools in Scotland have gained national ‘Digital School’ status for excellence in digital technology in teaching and learning. I had the pleasure of attending this event as a Programme Validator for the Digital Schools Awards. The schools were officially awarded the honour of being recognised as the first digital schools in Scotland by the Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science, Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP, at a ceremony held at Wormit Primary School.
Recognised by Education Scotland, the Digital Schools Award is designed to promote, encourage and reward schools that make the best use of digital technology in the classroom. HP, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Intel are providing support to the programme, including a financial commitment of £110,000 in the first year as well as the provision of practical support and resources.
Schools that receive ‘Digital School’ status will demonstrate, among other things, the presence of a whole school digital strategy, evidence of how digital technology is being used to enhance learning and a commitment to ongoing professional learning for teachers. The programme has already highlighted some very innovative and collaborative approaches from schools and teachers regarding the integration of digital technology in teaching and learning, which will be an inspiration to other schools.
One in nine primary schools in Scotland, some 195 schools, have signed up to become a Digital School since the launch of the programme in September 2016. The programme aims to sign up 400 primary schools in Scotland to participate in its first full year.
Speaking about the awards programme Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP, said: ‘Digital skills are an integral part of our everyday lives, and as such it is absolutely essential that we give young people the opportunities to understand and use them properly. The Digital Schools Awards Programme is a fantastic example of industry supporting education in Scotland and helping ensure our young people develop the skills and opportunities to flourish.
Alan Armstrong, Strategic Director at Education Scotland said, ‘The Digital Schools Awards Programme is a very valuable approach to embedding digital learning in primary schools. It fully supports and promotes the vision set out in the Government’s Digital Learning and Teaching Strategy for Scotland. I am delighted to see these first set of awards being presented and the number of schools registering for the programme continuing to grow. I encourage all primary schools in Scotland who have not yet done so, to sign up to the programme.’
Neil Sawyer, Education Director at HP commented: ‘HP believes that the technology sector has a responsibility to support schools and ensure that the next generation is equipped with the knowledge needed to close the STEM and creative skills gap, and drive the economy of tomorrow. Being recognised as a Digital School is a great achievement and an important milestone. We congratulate the 21 schools receiving awards today.’
‘Scotland performs very well in terms of integrating technology in the curriculum’, said Jane Grey, Sales Leader at Hewlett Packard Enterprise Scotland. We are proud to be part of the Digital Schools Awards initiative which is making a practical contribution to helping schools make the most of their digital capabilities. I would encourage more schools to sign up to the programme to take advantage of the comprehensive supports and expertise on offer.’
The newly awarded ‘Digital Schools’ are:
- Bathgate Early Years Centre
- Beith Primary School
- Blackfriars Primary School
- Bonhill Primary School
- Calside Primary School
- Dalry Primary School
- Echt School
- Kelvinside Academy
- Kildrum Primary School
- Kingswells Primary School
- Kinlochleven Primary School
- Kirkton Of Largo Primary School
- Lundavra Primary School
- Mearns Primary School
- Netherlee Primary School
- Our Lady of Good Aid Cathedral Primary School
- Rosebank Primary School
- The Compass School
- The Edinburgh Academy Junior School
- Whitehirst Primary School
- Wormit Primary School