Bearsden Academy, Mosshead Primary, Bearsden Primary, Baljaffray Primary and Castlehill Primary were granted the nationally-recognised education award based on their involvement in a cluster initiative.
Nearly half of Scotland’s schools (44%) are registered for the Digital Schools Awards programme, which was launched in September 2017.
The initiative encourages and rewards schools that make the best use of digital technology in the classroom, and received a financial commitment of £600,000 over five years from a host of organisations, including Skills Development Scotland, HP and Microsoft.
This award status marks the first time in the programme’s history where schools have set out to share resources, mentor and guide each other. As part of the initiative, senior pupils from Bearsden Academy were assigned to each of the four primary schools within the cluster – working closely with the children to support their digital learning and development.
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Maximising the use of technology, as well as helpful tips on how to use the digital learning platform, Glow, formed part of the support provided by the secondary students. Additionally, teachers at all five schools regularly liaised so as to streamline the digital curriculum.
George Cooper, head teacher at Bearsden Academy, commented: “We are very proud of the pupils and teachers who have worked incredibly hard – often in their free time – to collaborate, exchange knowledge and support each other to achieve the Digital Schools Award.
“The cluster initiative was built on the close working relationship we have in our cluster and will help equip our students for the future, whether preparing primary school pupils for secondary school or preparing our senior pupils for adult life in a digital world.”
Ann Marie Whelan, education manager at HP added: “This was a great exercise in collaboration which saw neighbouring schools work closely together to better prepare pupils for the digital world.”
Although the programme was initially aimed at primary schools, a secondary programme was rolled out in 2018 to help students prepare for life after school, focusing on real-world, work-ready scenarios. To date, 25 secondary schools have been awarded Digital Schools status.
Across Scotland, there are nine additional digital school clusters taking part in the programme, which aim to achieve the same status as their Bearsden counterparts within six to nine months of commencement.
Participating schools are required to self-assess their developments in digital technology, identifying key areas of practice, such as Leadership and Vision, Digital Technology for Learning and Teaching, School Culture, Professional Development, and Resources and Infrastructure.
Upon joining the initiative and completing an online self-review process, schools within a cluster are assigned a validator who will propose a matrix system of support aimed at addressing learning gaps.
Schools across Scotland are encouraged to register for the free programme.