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Digital Schools Awards To Equip Pupils With Cutting Edge Skills

Brian Baglow

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Digital Schools Awards - Giving Scotland's Pupils Cutting Edge Skills

After the awards were introduced to primary schools in 2016, the programme is being rolled out to high schools across the country, with partnership with HP, Microsoft, Intel, Scotland’s public sector organisations, colleges, universities and employers across Scotland.

The Digital Schools Awards encourages schools to infuse digital skills across the whole curriculum, with the express aim of equipping pupils with cutting-edge digital skills.

Schools participating in the scheme must carry out self-assessments of their developments in digital technology in:

  • Leadership and Vision
  • Digital Technology for Learning and Teaching
  • School Culture
  • Professional Development
  • Resources and Infrastructure

The secondary programme builds on this and encourages schools to identify activities where digital skills are more focused on real world work-ready scenarios.

As part of the programme, colleges, universities, and employers across the country are also being encouraged to partner with schools to develop a modern, digitally resilient workforce with advanced computational thinking capabilities.

Education, Public Sector & Employers

The announcement builds on the successful introduction of the Digital Schools Awards to Scottish primary schools in 2016. The primary programme has already seen 15% of schools register and 43 schools achieve digital school accreditation

The Digital Schools Awards programme is being driven by close cooperation between policy, academic, technology and business leaders which recognise that schools play a central role in shaping Scotland’s future as a digital nation.

The Awards development team consulted with schools and organisations such as Developing the Young WorkforcePLAN C, ScotlandIS, Smarter Grid Solutions, STEM, the Child Protection Team for Education Scotland and the Digital Technologies Skills Group to include the latest thinking in digital technology for education. As a result, the programme promotes skills such as digital innovation and creativity; computational thinking; advances in STEM; the use of digital technology to promote higher order thinking skills; support for digital equity and access and the need for cyber resilience.

Support For The Future

The Digital Schools Awards have partnered with tech giants HP, Microsoft and Intel to provide practical support and resources including a financial commitment of £600,000 over 5 years and the programme is recognised by Education Scotland.  The programme is also supported by the Scottish Government’s Digital Skills funding.

It is predicted that by the end of 2018, more than 25% of all Scottish primary and secondary schools and over 190,000 pupils aged between 5-18 years, will be digitally supported through the programme’s activities.

Shirley-Anne Somerville, the minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science, said: “A key priority in shaping the Scottish Government’s Digital Learning and Teaching Strategy has been to align the needs of employers with the curriculum.  Our colleges, universities and employers have a key role to play in helping schools to prepare our young people for the opportunities to flourish in the future.  I welcome HP, Microsoft and Intel support on this digital schools’ programme which is a fantastic example of industry supporting education in Scotland.”

Digital Schools Awards - David Hogg, Steven GrierDavid Hogg, Education Manager for HP EMEA, commented: “The Digital Schools Awards programme is a unique partnership between the technology industry, education and government and offers a great opportunity for Scotland to take a lead in the development of digital skills across both primary and second level education.

HP is proud to support this ground-breaking digital schools’ initiative which will help young people in Scotland take full advantage of career opportunities as they consider further education or employment and allow them to play a full part in making Scotland a great digital nation.”

Steven Grier, Country Manager, Microsoft Scotland, said: “The Digital Schools Programme is a shining example of how we, as an industry, are committed to supporting the next generation and ensuring that all young people acquire the skills they need to thrive in the modern digital workplace. We are proud to be part of this exciting initiative and look forward to seeing how it enables students to better prepare for the world of work.”

Claire Gillespie, Digital Technologies Sector Skills Manager at Skills Development Scotland, said: “Involving technology employers in our schools is key to ensuring that young people will have the knowledge and experience needed in the years ahead. There are many excellent digital projects happening in our schools and the Digital Schools Awards provides a roadmap for best practice. I’d like to encourage any school that hasn’t yet got involved in this programme to consider doing so.”

Schools are encouraged to register for the programme through the www.digitalschoolsawards.co.uk website where they can undergo a self-evaluation of current practices and standards.

Movers and shakers

Brian Baglow

Editor

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