TITLE OF DEVELOPING PRACTICE EXAMPLE
Digital Schools Award
Digital Schools Award
Grange Primary School is situated in Bo'ness, Falkirk Council. A thorough validation was conducted by Digital Schools Award in June 2021. The school shared its' digital journey which led to the school receiving the Digital Schools Award.
Completed the self-evaluation tool online.
Gathered evidence and data and presented the journey via a PowerPoint presentation.
Included Digital Leaders, CT, PT and HT.
Leadership and Vision 94%
During the remote validation visit, the school clearly demonstrated how learning through digital technologies have been developed and infused across all subject areas with provision made for students of all abilities. The school has developed a systematic approach towards the provision, assessment and planning of digital technologies, making effective use of Falkirk council outreach services and planning support whilst ensuring that learning is closely linked to the curriculum and HGIOS self-evaluation indicators, one of which was to raise attainment in STEM subjects whilst developing the science and technology curriculum. The staff at Grange Primary School work closely with those in Blackness Primary School, sharing a Head Teacher and Principal teacher who also has lead responsibilities for the development of digital technologies in both schools. The school annually reviews its School Development Plan, and the Head Teacher, Mrs Veneroni, shared how the plan has evolved over the years, narrowing its focus to improve student outcomes in STEM subjects by harnessing the power of digital technologies. The school's ICT Strategy, supported by its digital and ICT policy, is based on guidance from the Digital Learning and Teaching Strategy for Scotland and the school's digital learning progressive pathways provide a sound framework for both planning and assessment. The ICT Strategy and supporting documents are evaluated annually and kept under regular review. Mr Burnett, the Principal Teacher and Digital Learning Coordinator, has worked tirelessly across both schools to ensure that students and teachers in both schools are well resourced and equipped with the skills to infuse digital technologies into every day learning experiences and teaching practices. This includes the provision of in-house CLPL and accessing external training opportunities. During the recent periods of remote learning, the school transitioned to sharing good practice and delivering training via MS Teams. The school put measures into place during the first lockdown to support its learners as they transitioned to remote learning. On return to school, these measures were reviewed and adjustments made which ensured that learners were more engaged and supported during the second lockdown. These measures included a more robust approach to student-teacher engagement through video lessons, activities that enabled students to apply their learning through the completion of tasks which were then shared with their teacher via ClassDojo (P1-2) and the Microsoft platform (P3-7) and the provision of hardware to support students at home. The school has an acceptable use policy in place.
Use of Digital Technology to Deliver the Curriculum 90%
The school makes efficient use of digital technology across all subject areas to support learning. Examples included photographing wildlife on a science walk which students then imported into digital books, the use of interactive whiteboards and tabletop devices to support learning in literacy and numeracy, supporting students with additional learning needs through assistive technologies, the use of technology during sporting events to enable the inclusion of SEN students through alternative roles and the use of technology to support musical compositions. Teachers carefully plan, deliver and review authentic ways in which digital technologies can be integrated into their lessons and this made the move to online learning a smooth transition for the school. The school uses ClassDojo and MS Teams to engage students in their learning and this was well established even prior to lockdown. Students use apps to support learning, take photographs and videos which they integrate into shared documents. Students use Accelerated Reader to assess reading comprehension and Borrow Box to access e-books. Students also use assistive technologies such as Siri and Immersive Reader and can present their learning via a range of resources including Sway, PowerPoint and Word. Students confidently spoke about their use of SumDog, TopMarks and Education City to improve learning in numeracy. Students are also provided with opportunities to use technology in real-life settings such as conducting surveys of peers using MS Forms, using BeeBots and developing computational thinking and coding capabilities. The students that I spoke with were able to confidently share how important it is to develop strong digital skills and how these are necessary in a range of careers. Two initiatives of interest are 'Digital Ninjas Mix Up Mondays' and 'Children's University'. Through these two initiatives, students are provided with opportunities to learn and apply new digital skills in fun and interactive settings. Another notable classroom activity was a lesson that provided students with the opportunity to receive, read and respond to an email from their teacher. The school uses CEOP, NSPCC, ThinkUKnow and Google's Be Internet Legend resources to support safe online practices and parents are provided with advice through online postings, newsletters and parent training sessions. The school makes good use of digital technologies to track the attainment of students, lesson plan and conduct administrative tasks. Staff make use of productivity tools such as shared documents within Teams or One Drive files to streamline their workflow and organise files.
School Culture 79%
Grange Primary has worked hard to develop a positive school ethos in the school where staff and students feel supported and encouraged. Distributed leadership ensures that all staff recognise their responsibilities with regards to their professional development and classroom practice and as a result are confident in their use of technology, knowing how best to utilise it to support learning. During the validation, the Head Teacher and Principal Teacher acknowledged that while staff were approaching the use of digital technologies from varying levels of confidence and ability, and she praised the positive attitudes and willingness of her staff to rise to the challenge of quickly upskill, have a go and support each other during the pandemic. This attitude has been fundamental to the success of the school and its ability to infuse technology across all subject areas. Students are aware of their learning outcomes, and know why technology enhances their learning experiences. While there is wide variety of digital devices and software used across the school, these have been carefully curated to best suit the needs of the learners as they progress through the school. The school works closely with both the local authority and parents to ensure that all students are provided for and can access the support that is needed.
The school has a website and a Twitter account. The website hosts documents and some information about the school while the Twitter account is used to communicate day to day events to parents, to network with other schools and professionals and to keep up to date with current events and trends in education. ClassDoJo and MS Teams accounts are used to communicate information with parents, set and collect homework and share success stories. Each class has its own dedicated Team and the staff have a virtual 'staff room' where they can meet socially and host staff meetings. Students are encouraged to develop autonomy in their learning and have developed the skills to enable them to upload their work to their portfolio for parents to access.
The school has established a School Council and team of Digital Leaders. These students have particular responsibilities towards supporting other learners in the use of digital technologies, conducting surveys of their peers to improve the school, hosting school assemblies where they demonstrate good practices in the use of digital technologies and giving their teachers tips on good digital practices!
Professional Development 96%
The school works hard to ensure that there is a comprehensive approach to CLPL for staff. Teachers are encouraged to avail of online training opportunities and previously made good use of training available via the local authority. The school quickly upskilled in a range of resources and device use in preparation for remote learning, and the Head Teacher shared that all staff engaged fully in this training. Ongoing triage style support was provided for staff through a dedicated MS Teams channel during remote learning and the development of a repository of short help videos. I spoke with Mrs Dryland who shared how she has recently been recognised as an accredited Apple Teacher and is implementing many of the strategies into her own practice and supporting her colleagues in their use of Apple devices.
The school is beginning to consider ways to assess the impact of digital technologies both on teaching practices and student educational outcomes. The staff I spoke with shared some of the innovative ways in which they use digital technologies to support learners, putting to use the training that they have received.
The school works very closely with Blackness Primary, sharing both the Head teacher and Principal Teacher across schools. As a result, there are well established practices of sharing good practice amongst staff between schools and learning from each other. Teachers are aware of their responsibilities in ensuring that students are safe and responsible whilst online. The school celebrates Safer Internet Day and educates students about issues such as cyber-bullying and information is shared with parents via the designated digital platforms. When the school is ready to take a more in-depth look at cyber resilience and internet safety, they may wish to consider looking at the DSA CRIS Award, which would allow them to self-evaluate and plan appropriate next steps. Looking at the '360-degree Safe' online e-safety audit tool may be another good starting point. The school is part of the Bo'ness Cluster of schools and participate in 'Connected Falkirk'. Through these initiatives, the school benefits from training, resources and the sharing of good practices. The school has a clear vision for how it wishes to develop the use of digital technologies in the future and has already put in place plans to implement these initiatives.
Resources and Infrastructure 93%
The school is well resourced, and the infrastructure of the school can support the full range of activities happening in classes. The school has availed of resources provided by Falkirk Council which include additional devices, WIFI extenders and data to support learning from home and the provision of high-speed internet connection in school is planned for the near future. In addition, the council has pledged to provide every student from P5 to P7 with their own device. The school has a good range of resources including smart whiteboards, coding devices, cameras, iPads and computers. Recently the computers were removed from the IT suite and redeployed in classrooms to support students with keyboard skills and to ensure that students with additional needs could access PC based software such as Clicker 7. iPads are available for classes to use via a timetable. Speaking to the Principal Teacher and teachers, it is clear that there is high value placed on the resources that the school has and these are well used to support learning. The school makes good use of the resources available on Glow, Microsoft 365 and iOS platforms which provide a variety of programs for students to use as they develop their digital skills and apply them across the curriculum. All students are taught how to use these environments safely and responsibly. During discussions with students, they articulated their confidence when using a range of programmes and devices and were able to explain how they benefited educationally from their use. The organisation of technology across the school is well planned through timetables and there are appropriate devices at all stages of the school. The school is compliant with GDPR and uses the Local Authority internet filters to ensure that students are safe when accessing external online content.
The whole school has been boosted by receiving this award.
It was a pleasure to speak with the Head teacher Mrs Veneroni, the Digital Technology Coordinator Mr Burnett and some pupils, all of whom were keen to tell me about their digital learning journey and skillset. The school is proud of its educational achievements and ways in which it uses digital technologies to support teaching and learning. The remote visit was well organised and guided by a PowerPoint presentation which ensured that I had the opportunity to learn about the full range of digital experiences available to students. A range of evidence documents was provided and these were further explained during the presentation. It was evident during the remote visit that Grange Primary School have a clear vision for their students, one which encompasses both improved educational outcomes and supporting wellbeing. The honestly with which they shared their journey was refreshing and demonstrated that they understand the importance of a collegiate approach to supporting staff and the value of engaging in a regular self-evaluating process to ensure that current practices are fit for purpose. During what has been an unprecedented period in education, they have risen to the challenge, increased their own digital skills, supported each other and their school community and looked for new ways to engage students.
It is my recommendation that the school has achieved the Digital Schools Award (Scotland).
I also recommend they are asked to become a mentor school as they have the capacity to share and develop their skills with others.