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Capita IT and Networks and C2k have announced the winners of the fifth annual NI Schools ICT Excellence’ Awards.

The winning primary school was Bunscoil Bheanna Boirche, Castlewellan. The judges were very impressed by how ICT is embedded throughout the school curriculum, collaboration between pupils, staff and parents and how the school use technology to work with other Irish-medium schools, improving pupils’ skills, boosting confidence and pride in their linguistic ability.

Aingeal Nic an tSábhaisigh, Principal of Bunscoil Bheanna Boirche said: “I am thrilled that Bunscoil Bheanna Boirche has been awarded as primary school winner in the 2019 ICT Excellence awards for transforming teaching and learning through the use of technology. In Bunscoil Bheanne Boirche, both pupils and teachers use technology confidently and effectively every day. I’m very proud of my staff, pupils and parents and this reward is a real testament to the school community and the hard work and dedication of teaching staff in enhancing teaching and learning throughout the school curriculum, helping to prepare our students for their next steps.”

The winning schools in the post-primary and special educational needs classifications were St. John the Baptist College, Portadown and Cedar Lodge School, Belfast.

Both schools showed exemplary use of technology in everyday teaching and learning, with a focus on using technology to meet the diverse needs of their students and creating a positive impact using technology in all aspects of the curriculum.

The winner in the second category was Lagan Valley Education Project. Judges were extremely impressed by the impact the centre was making to the future of its young people. The centre has enabled young people to develop skills through a Digital Media course, which has enhanced their creative skills and supported success in other academic courses

The awards, celebrated at a ceremony at the Merchant Hotel in Belfast yesterday – recognise the innovative and collaborative use of technology in schools across Northern Ireland and the positive impact on students and their wider communities.

Primary, post-primary, special educational needs schools and EOTAS centres across Northern Ireland were invited to apply for an award under two categories: ‘Transforming Teaching & Learning through Technology’ or "Overcoming barriers to learning by empowerment through technology".

The re-introduction in 2019 of an award for overcoming barriers is to explore and recognise how education establishments have overcame barriers experienced by young people whose particular circumstances make it difficult for them to access learning in other ways.

Three schools and one EOTAS centre were also awarded highly commended status for specific areas of technology, these schools were:

St. Peter’s and St. Paul’s Primary School - Excellence in the use of technology, particularly in delivering an outstanding contribution in supporting other schools to embed technology in teaching and learning through free training courses.

Ballykeel Primary School – Excellence in the use of technology, particularly for pupil assessment & tracking and in delivering a personalised approach to parental engagement.

Methodist College - For a highly innovative UICT development strategy by developing students as digital workers, makers and citizens.

Tannamore Learning Centre - Extraordinary achievement in reintegrating and engaging young people in education through the use of technology.

An additional four schools were recognised as part of the awards process:

  1. Ballyclare Primary School
  2. Victoria Park Primary School, Belfast
  3. St Bernard's Primary School, Glengormley
  4. St Louis Grammar School, Ballymena
  5. Loreto Grammar School, Omagh

Tim Matchett, Head of C2k Managed Services, said: “C2k is delighted to be involved in the ICT Excellence Awards process with Capita. As showcased every year, the level of innovation and use of technology continues to be remarkable. I would like to thank all of the schools who entered this year’s awards and offer my congratulations to the 2019 winners and highly commended schools.”

Ed Brown, General Manager, Ireland, Capita IT and Networks, said: “For the fifth consecutive year the ICT Excellence Awards are highlighting the excellent use of technology used in schools and education settings across Northern Ireland. The awards provide a fantastic opportunity for Northern Ireland schools and EOTAS centres to showcase this use of ICT in teaching and learning and Capita is proud to be part of that process. Congratulations to all those who entered, the winners Cedar Lodge School, Bunscoil Bheanna Boirche and St. John the Baptist’s College and the four highly commended schools who are using technology impressively.”

The winning schools and EOTAS centre will receive a prize fund to spend on ICT equipment from Capita. The 2020 NI Schools ICT Excellence Awards will open in the new academic year.