March 2011 School satisfaction survey
Welcome to Linked... Completion of the questionnaire will provide the Boards, including
CASS and RTU, and also the CCMS, with valuable information about
how the training needs of teachers have been met during 2009-11
Page 1 and the results will assist in identifying anticipated training needs
News & Updates for 2011-12.
Page 2 The aim of the survey is to engage teachers in developing support to
Introducing the Coherent Plan - a regionally agreed programme for school support individual schools within the overall support framework.
Page 4 It is anticipated that school principals will consult with their staff as
School Development Planning - the latest regulations and guidance part of completing their school’s response. Only one return should be
As part of the Resource Allocation Planning process, the five made for each school. All information provided by principals will be
Education and Library Boards in Northern Ireland have commissioned treated confidentially and used for analysis purposes only. Your
Self-evaluation - an effective approach to school improvement
their Central Management Support Unit to carry out a regional school support is much appreciated.
Page 8 satisfaction survey on how the teacher training needs of individual
Data Management - a report on the use of SIMS Assessment Manager to schools have been met.. The School Satisfaction Survey online questionnaire may be accessed
support improvement on the C2k Exchange via: C2k Services – C2k Forms – School Survey
This survey addresses identified training needs regarding one of on Developing the Education Workforce.
Page 10 the Department of Education’s key priorities - ‘developing the
Leadership Development - Dr Tom Hesketh reports on RTU’s emergent and senior education workforce’. To facilitate this process, a short electronic Should you require further clarification, please contact your school’s
leadership development programmes questionnaire has been developed, which all principals are asked to ELB Link Officer or Teresa Connolly, telephone 028 3751 2222 or email
complete and submit by Friday 25 March 2011. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Northern Ireland’s first Forest School - a pioneering primary in north Belfast brings its
outdoor classroom to life New educational television channel offers
The Roe Valley Sharing Education Programme - a collaborative model worth noting innovative support for school improvement
Page 16 quality education system and explains how and where school
Healthy bodies, healthy minds - eleven of this year’s award-winning schools share their stories improvement sits within the wider educational reform agenda.
Page 22 Development of content will be based on the four characteristics of a
Virtual classroom - The use of video conferencing in schools good school and the associated quality indicators. These are: child
centred provision; high quality teaching and learning; effective
Page 24 leadership; and a school connected to its community.
LearningNI - Online support for teacher training
The initial aim of ESaGS.tv is to produce short programmes featuring
schools from all sectors, phases and locations in Northern Ireland
Active learning and teaching across the curriculum - a report by Ulidia Integrated College
which have performed successfully in their most recent ETI Inspection.
Page 28 The Department of Education has just launched a web-based Interviews with principals and staff will focus on sharing the good practice
Early Years’ Language Programme educational television channel which will deliver online programmes that exists within each school with a Northern Ireland-wide audience.
CCEA Updates for use in schools across Northern Ireland.
The programmes can be used for Continuous Professional
Page 29 The television channel, entitled ESaGS.tv, after the Department of Development (CPD) and to support the ongoing process of self-
Diary dates - forthcoming conferences Education’s Every School a Good School: a Policy for School evaluation. They will be available on demand allowing schools and
Improvement, is accessible online now at www.ESaGS.tv. staff to access at a convenient time.
This newsletter is produced by the Partnership Management Board (PMB) - a strategic planning group representing a range Production of material will be driven by the Every School a Good For further information, please visit
of education partners. PMB was formed to plan for the coherent and efficient implementation of the revised curriculum. School: a Policy for School Improvement which sets a vision for a high www.ESaGS.tv
As always, we welcome your comments, correspondence and contributions. Please feel free to contact us at Competition winners
email@example.com if you have a suggestion or a story that you would like to share with us. Linked is also We ran two competitions in last term’s edition of Linked. S Millar from Strathearn School won the Hp Office Jet 6500 printer and H Marshall from
Cairnshill Primary School won the Hp Canon IXUS 105 Digital Camera. E Porter from Longstone Special School and R Toner from Lurgan Model
available online on the www.nicurriculum.org.uk website. Previous editions of the newsletter can be found by clicking on
Primary School and Nursery Unit each won a signed copy of Sir John Jones’ latest book ‘The Magic-Weaving Business’. All have received their prizes.
These principles are: As a consequence, support is being provided taking into account the
following spectrum of schools:
• sustainable improvement needs to be inclusive of all stakeholders,
both internal and external to the school; • schools in a Formal Intervention;
• regular and rigorous self-evaluation using performance and other • schools where performance improvement will have most effect in
data is central to school improvement; closing the gap between highest and lowest achieving pupils;
• priorities for action should be limited and focused; • schools addressing improvement issues identified through
• targets must be set at pupil, year group and whole-school level with inspection by ETI; and
detailed plans drawn up; • other schools in support of their self-evaluation and school
• quality teaching and learning must be at the heart of such plans; improvement plans
• success criteria should measure performance against pupil outcomes;
• learning from monitoring and evaluation should inform the next The following emphases are prioritised within the support
cycle of improvement; programmes:
• learning and best practice should be shared, both internally and
externally; and • the embedding of the Northern Ireland Curriculum and the
• contextualised school-based support for strengthening leadership introduction of assessment arrangements that support it;
at all levels is essential, improving the quality of leadership and • the implementation of the revised Literacy and Numeracy Strategy;
management at all levels within schools. • the promotion of STEM subjects;
• Early Years (0-6) building capacity for school improvement; and
Support will be delivered in the following ways: • communication and consultation.
• in collaboration with employing authorities, the targeting of The Plan includes a specific support programme on ‘Linking
support for schools based on evidence from ETI inspections, Assessment to School Improvement’ which will ensure that support
performance data and local knowledge; for the assessment arrangements will be delivered in a manner which
• the deployment of trained and experienced officers to support the ensures a consistency and coherence of message. This delivery will be
schools in the key processes of self-evaluation, data analysis, target done jointly by officers of CCEA and ELBs and will be fully integrated
setting, action planning, monitoring action and evaluating impact; into the school improvement process.
• the strengthening of leadership within the schools through
sustained and regular support, with the objective of Our education system is a complex organism and bringing coherence
supported autonomy; to it will take commitment, time and effort. ETI’s ‘An Evaluation of the
• the sharing of good practice from those schools deemed, through Arrangements for the Implementation of the Revised Northern Ireland
The Coherent Plan inspection, to be outstanding to support those schools with less
effective practice to improve;
• a coherent continuum of support, clearly linked to DE priorities, for
the professional development of personnel within the school, from
the induction of beginning teachers to Principal support, and Board
Curriculum in Primary, Special and Post-Primary Schools’ concluded by
saying, “a concerted effort will be required by the main stakeholders in
education if the learning experiences of the pupils are to be improved
and the standards of achievement are to be raised.”
of Governor training; The Coherent Plan is the beginning of that effort.
• co-ordination and monitoring of a coherent and comprehensive
A regionally agreed programme for school support is now being implemented programme of support to meet schools’ identified priorities;
across Northern Ireland in response to an ETI recommendation which called for • contextualisation of school improvement plans within the
“a differentiated approach, based on audit of need, to enable schools to continue parameters of sustainability, i.e. finance, staffing levels, enrolment,
curriculum provision; and
to improve practice in the context of whole school improvement”. • development of the potential of Area Learning Communities for
Over the past twenty years education has struggled to keep pace with support for schools, based on audit of need, to enable them to
new knowledge about learning, innovation in technology, and continue to improve practice in the context of whole school
In order to ensure that support resources are effectively deployed in a
demographic and societal changes. Policy and strategy were under improvement” and “improved collaboration between CCEA, CASS and,
manner which maximises the opportunity for the key outcomes of
revision and the result was the need for schools to manage almost where appropriate C2k”. DE’s Every School a Good School: a Policy for
the Coherent Plan to be achieved, support will be differentiated to
constant change. The response of leaders and teachers was often School Improvement provided the blueprint and context for such a
meet the specific needs of schools in addressing this agenda. The
feelings of “overload”. coherent support programme.
nature and intensity of support provided to schools will be based on a
wide range of evidence, such as DE statistics, assessment outcomes,
ETI’s ‘An Evaluation of the Arrangements for the Implementation of the As a result, a ‘Coherent Plan’ has been produced. This regionally agreed
ETI inspection reports, and information from employing authorities.
Revised Northern Ireland Curriculum in Primary, Special and Post- programme for school support is underpinned by principles informed
Support will embed the process of school development planning
Primary Schools’ identified the problem and the action needed from by current research evidence on School Improvement; ETI - identified
with a focus on improving practice and outcomes in Literacy
those charged with the education of our young people. Key amongst good practice and experience of supporting schools in previous
ETI’s recommendations was the need for “a differentiated approach to School Improvement initiatives.
Review of requirements for school development planning Guidance on School Development Planning
Schools have been required to prepare an SDP since 1998 and To support the revised regulations, the Department has also revised its
regulations were previously made in 2005. The Department gave a guidance on school development planning. The guidance aims to assist
commitment as part of Every School a Good School: a Policy for School schools as they seek to embed a reflective, inclusive, robust and
Department of Education issues revised regulations and guidance on SDPs Improvement to review the requirements relating to school evidence-based process of:
development planning. The Department issued draft regulations for
A circular, advising schools of revised regulations and guidance, setting school. It is based on the premise that schools themselves are best consultation from 2nd February until 26th March 2010, inviting views • setting an ethos, vision statement for the school;
out the requirements on Boards of Governors of grant-aided schools to placed to identify areas for improvement and to implement changes that from schools, educational support bodies, key equality interests and the • self-evaluation;
prepare and maintain a school development plan (SDP), has been issued can bring about better outcomes for pupils. Self-evaluation leading to Education Committee. • planning;
by the Department of Education. sustained self-improvement is therefore at the core of the school • implementing actions to bring about improvement in pupil
improvement policy. A total of 77 responses were received, with the majority being in favour outcomes; and
The Education (School Development Plans) Regulations (Northern of the proposals. The issues raised by respondents have been addressed • monitoring and reviewing progress.
Ireland) 2010 (made under Articles 13(3) and 90(3) of the Education Schools should engage in a rigorous and reflective process of self- in work to revise the regulations and to prepare supporting guidance
(Northern Ireland) Order 1998) came into operation on 24th January evaluation against the characteristics of a good school set out in Every material. A report on the analysis of the consultation findings is available Many of the key principles remain unchanged (e.g. the purpose of the
2011. These regulations will apply to all school development plans School a Good School: a Policy for School Improvement, which align to the via the Department’s website. SDP, roles and responsibilities, the importance of ethos). However, the
prepared from 24th January 2011 onwards. Schools do not have to make indicators set out in the Education and Training Inspectorate’s (ETI) revised guidance is intended to be more streamlined and user-friendly,
immediate changes to their current SDP as a result of these regulations Together Towards Improvement. Priorities for school development planning and clearly focused on promoting and embedding in all our schools a
taking effect, however, they should comply with the new requirements high-quality process of self-evaluation and development planning.
when they next come to revise their SDP in line with the timescales set Self-evaluation should be informed by the effective use of performance The Department’s key priorities in revising the regulations and guidance
out in the regulations, i.e. following a school inspection or at the end of and other data, including inspection evidence, and by consultation material have been to ensure that: The guidance therefore takes schools through the cycle of self-
the three year period to which their SDP applies. with pupils, parents and staff, to identify those aspects of school life that evaluation and development planning, referenced to the characteristics
are successful, and those where improvement is required. The resulting • the focus of school development planning is on raising standards, of a good school. It sets out some characteristics of effective school
Self-evaluation and school development planning actions considered necessary to effect improvement should be particularly standards of pupils’ achievement in literacy, numeracy development planning, drawing on the ETI’s Evaluation of School
leading to school improvement captured in the SDP, which will provide a useful tool to manage and and ICT; Development Planning 2007-08. The guidance also signposts schools to
monitor the implementation of planned actions. • planning for improvement is supported by planning for the effective the range of resources available to support them in their development
Every School a Good School: a Policy for School Improvement emphasises use of the school’s financial, human and other resources; and planning, including the revised Together Towards Improvement
that school improvement is first and foremost the responsibility of the • the process of self-evaluation and development planning is documents published by the ETI.
manageable and provides flexibility for schools to determine their
School Development Plans - Regulations
The regulations continue to set out the:
• matters to be dealt with by a school development plan;
• period for which a school development plan is to have effect;
• arrangements for the publication of a school development plan; and
• arrangements for the monitoring, review and revision of a school
In preparing and/or revising the school’s plan, the Board of Governors
must also continue to consult with the principal, consider the findings
from any inspections of the school, and consider any guidance given by
the Department, the relevant Education and Library Board, and in the
case of Catholic maintained schools, the Council for Catholic Maintained
Copies of this Circular, the regulations, guidance and case studies of schools found to demonstrate effective practice in school
development planning are available via the Department’s website at http://www.deni.gov.uk/index/85-schools/03-
schools_impvt_prog_pg/03-schools_school_improvement_programmeschool_development_planning_pg.htm. The schools
featured in case studies include: Ballyholme Primary School; St Paul’s High School in Bessbrook; Braidside Integrated Primary and
Nursery School, Ballymena; Harberton Special School; Drumnamoe Nursery School; Gaelscoil Ui Neill; and Ballymena Academy.
Schools can also seek advice and support in their school development planning from their Education & Library Board and, in the case
of Catholic maintained schools, CCMS. Schools can seek support and assistance from C2k on managing data and school leaders can
avail of RTU’s leadership development programmes.
An insight into one school’s analytical approach to reviewing and evaluating practice
• The encouragement of reflection and self and peer assessment,
• The encouragement of risk,
• Mistakes and failure being acknowledged as an important part of
the learning process.
The school’s self-evaluation process was structured as follows:
• Less consistency in the reviewing of learning intentions at the end
of lessons; and
• Some teachers expressed concern with peer assessment especially
for students with Additional Educational Needs (AEN).
The student results showed that:
and learning outcomes to inform effective action planning for improvement • Set expected targets for achievement i.e. predetermined criteria of • Students perceive Assessment for Learning as important and had a
Interview with Maureen McKeever (Principal) and Damon McCaul (Senior Teacher), Mount Lourdes Grammar School what would constitute success; good understanding of its components;
• Organise staff and student focus groups and allow them to • There is a discrepancy between teachers’ and students’ perceptions
complete questionnaires; e.g. on the use of Learning Intentions;
“Initially I had major reservations about the value of the self-evaluation aim that the evaluated results would inform future school • Observe lessons to audit current practice across departments; • All agreed on the importance of questioning but less than half were
process,” said Principal Maureen McKeever. “However, after attending development planning. • Gather samples of student work; comfortable asking questions;
the “From Self-evaluation to Excellence (EQFM)” course at RTU, I began • Collate and evaluate the evidence to get a balance between factual • Some expressed the view that they won’t ask questions when they
to see the value of the process and realised its potential to secure real Damon said: “We were conscious that all departments had a lot on and perceptual information; and don’t understand to avoid looking ‘stupid’;
school improvement.” their plates at that time: new GCSE and A2 specifications; the ongoing • Provide feedback to SMT, staff and pupils. • Students had some quite strong responses about questioning
implementation of the revised curriculum; controlled assessment; data techniques, including in some instances not having enough
The RTU course Maureen McKeever is referring to adapts the European handling; and a plethora of other areas for development. We did not Staff and pupils were asked a number of questions during thinking time;
Foundation Quality Mark (EFQM) award process for use in schools with want to add any additional or unnecessary work; therefore we the focus groups and in questionnaires. These included: • Students had strong opinions on the usefulness of peer assessment.
the overall aim of developing the school's capacity to apply a self- adopted a common sense approach and did not over Few of these were positive; and
evaluative approach to school improvement. The programme is complicate things.” • Is AfL now integral to learning and teaching within subjects? • They also have a different perception than staff regarding the
directed towards the principal and another senior member of staff and • Has AfL been integrated into departmental schemes of work? revisiting of intentions at the end of a lesson.
is designed to develop the skills of senior leaders to use self-evaluative The school wanted to determine if pupils were • Are members of staff confident / competent in using AfL within
methodologies to review their school. It aims to assist senior leaders to experiencing the following components of Assessment their subject areas? Damon said: “We then carried out a gap analysis - looking for any
develop a culture of critical reflection and self-evaluation. for Learning (AfL) in their lessons: • How is pupil work marked for improvement and how is this discrepancies between pupil and staff perceptions. We then selected
communicated within each subject area? the largest discrepancy in the data analysis and made it the focus for
Senior teacher Damon McCaul explained that the purpose of the • Clear learning objectives; • What do students think of their experience of the use of AfL? our School Development Plan and the focus for PRSD for the following
school’s most recent self-evaluation process was to investigate how • Shared assessment criteria; • Do members of staff perceive a need for further staff development? two years. The next step in the evaluation process was to report these
effectively ‘Assessment for Learning’ was being incorporated into • A choice of tasks and ways to demonstrate learning e.g. oral, results back to staff and pupils which highlighted the key points and
lessons and its consequent effect on Learning and Teaching, with the written, ICT, drama etc; “We talked to staff and students in the focus groups before they filled future targets for action. The two areas identified through the process
• Formative feedback and advice on how to improve; in the questionnaires to contextualise the whole process,” explained were ‘the use of effective questioning techniques’ and ‘the
Damon. “This was particularly important for the pupils, to ensure they development of thinking skills’.”
had the appropriate AfL vocabulary needed to answer the questions
properly and make the responses more meaningful. However we were Maureen McKeever added: “As teachers we talk a lot about teaching
pleasantly surprised at the language the pupils used in the focus but perhaps we don’t think as much about how it feels to be a learner
groups about Assessment for Learning. They already knew about and what the experience is like from the other side of the desk. One of
‘success criteria, marking for improvement, learning intentions, the reasons for engaging in the self-evaluation process was to give
self-evaluation, and peer evaluation’ - clear evidence of its widespread staff the opportunity to reflect on not just what they teach but how
use by staff. The focus groups and questionnaire process was short they teach. Sometimes we are so focussed on our performance as
and sweet - from start to finish, it took less than 2 hours of teachers’ teachers that we neglect the other side of the relationship - learning.
and students’ time.” We wanted staff to gain a greater understanding of the learning
process: its all about getting inside the learners’ head.
Once all the evidence was correlated and evaluated, an audit was
produced against preset success criteria. “We are developing and strengthening trust, openness and a
willingness to embrace change in order to improve learning
The staff results showed that: experiences and outcomes for students. All of this builds capacity for
self-reflection and develops a culture of improvement.”
• In the main staff find Assessment for Learning useful;
• All believe that the use of Learning Intentions is important; Damon concluded: “The outcome value of a self-evaluation process like
• Approximately half of teachers employ learning intentions for every this has to be significantly higher than the affordable investment of our
lesson with all usually using them at the beginning of lessons or topics; time. It would be a pointless process if the effort needed to complete it
• Some staff members expressed a lack of understanding of certain is greater than what we get from it. And I think we can confidently say
elements of AfL; that what we have done has secured real improvement. It is not just a
• Some thought this approach was more suited to certain subjects paper exercise to us - everything we do is about improving teaching
Getting inside the learners’ heads: the self-evaluation process empowers teachers to reflect on their classroom practice and to benchmark it than others; and learning.”
against students’ learning perceptions.
St Patrick’s College staﬀ members, pictured left to right, Martin Quinn, Dympna Devlin and Julian McGale For this to happen the data sets must provide reliable and valid Following a successful pilot with KS4 science classes and in keeping
predictors of future student achievement, they must be reliable with St Patrick’s ethos of striving for excellence and sharing good
measures of change over time and data inputs by teachers must be practice across the school, SIMS Assessment Manager has now been
authentic and based on sound judgement. introduced for other year groups.
Working closely with the Senior Teacher in charge of Assessment, Standardised national tests are used to baseline the pupils at the start
Dympna Devlin, and the Head of Technology, Martin Quinn, the goal in of each Key Stage and provide predicted grades for individual subjects.
relation to Data Management was to provide data that helps staff and The teaching staff review these predicted grades and set target grades
the Senior Management Team to confidently identify the root of on Assessment Manager. The pupils are then monitored regularly in
educational challenges and to track progress which will enable staff real time using internal standardised tests to identify high and low
and departments to more readily develop action plans that will have a achievers. This is completed through a ‘traffic lights’ system built into
positive impact on the students. Assessment Manager that acts like an early warning system to flag up
potential problems so that prompt and appropriate steps can be taken
ICT is central to teaching and learning at St Patrick’s and teachers make to provide the necessary support.
extensive use of Capita’s Schools Information Management System
(SIMS) software to support good practice across the curriculum and Working on the principle of ‘what gets measured gets done’,
throughout the school. Assessment Manager is feeding into short-term and long-term
strategic objectives of the assessment management policy at
SIMS provides a suite of software covering all parts of a school’s St Patrick’s. In the short term, it helps bring about focused
administration from behaviour and achievement, planning curriculum improvements by identifying in ‘real time’ under-performing students
and lesson structures, dinner money, educational learning plans, and enables constructive intervention in a timely fashion.
managing registration and admissions. In recent years, SIMS has moved
away from being viewed exclusively as a school administration tool Data from Assessment Manager can be linked to data from Lesson
and developed into a comprehensive and integrated Management Monitor which is used to record other data pertaining to pupils’
Information System (MIS) for managing school business processes and performance such as attendance, behaviour, effort, forgotten
whole school improvement. homework of individual pupils and so on. This way, problems can be
identified early and the necessary action taken - there is no need to
As Head of Department and Specialist Science Coordinator at wait until the annual parents’ night. If there is a problem with a child’s
St Patrick’s, I lead the development of the SIMS ‘Assessment Manager’ performance across subjects, parents are notified so that they can
module to spearhead the use of standardised real time data to make work alongside the teachers to improve it.
‘real’ improvements to pupils’ performance. Assessment Manager
provides us with a means of recording and viewing the full range of As the modules currently under development become more
our pupils' assessment data. It allows us to meet the school's day-to- established, we intend to introduce a ‘Learning Gateway’ so that
day assessment, recording, reporting and target setting requirements. parents can have instant access to their child’s data. This will be
Pupils' progress can be easily tracked and monitored, enabling the coupled to the use of standardised data to establish motivational
What gets measured gets done at St Patrick’s school to become not just data rich but more importantly, information
rich. As the module is integrated within the SIMS software package it
targets and standardised value added measures.
has the ability to use additional SIMS data fields to provide further For further information please email:
Julian McGale, St Patrick’s College Maghera, reports on the use of SIMS Assessment Manager to support improvement
analysis such as breakdown of information for Special Educational firstname.lastname@example.org
Needs, Free School Meals, etc.
St Patrick’s College is a co-educational 11-18 college, with a school learning across the school. The importance of data is highlighted
population of 1338 pupils. At St Patrick’s we have enjoyed excellent within the Department of Education’s Every School a Good School: a
academic success for many years and we are renowned for Policy for School Improvement which states that “Assessment and
achievements in Sport, Music and Drama. In 2007 the college was also other data is used to effectively inform teaching and learning across
awarded Specialist status and we are developing our reputation as a the school and in the classroom and to promote improvement”;
Centre of Excellence in Science. and “Rigorous self-evaluation is carried out by teachers and the
whole school, using objective data and leading to sustained
The college holds the Investors in People Award, ET Laureate status for self-improvement.”
our use of computer technology and recently scooped the top EFQM
award for Quality Management in the Excellence in Education Data is used by individual teachers, by departments, and across the
Programme. We have also been involved in piloting Key Skills, the school. We use data to report to parents, to inform student placement
Revised Curriculum, and Learning for Life and Work. The College has and decisions, to set targets and measure pupil progress in real time, to
continues to maintain a strong tradition of curriculum development. identify high achievers or those pupils requiring support at subject
level or across a range of subjects, to identify areas for improvement
The use of data in St Patrick’s is a driver for educational decision in teaching and learning and to highlight and share areas of
making, which results in the continuous improvement in teaching and best practice.
Leadership Leadership development is concerned with both the present and the
future. It is about preparing today’s leaders for current effectiveness
and for helping to shape a schooling system which will be more
collaborative, accountable and impactful. It is also about ensuring a
supply line of effective leaders for the future, whether as Vice
In September 2010, as part of a wide ranging reform of school
leadership provision, RTU redesigned and refocused PQH (NI) on the
key priority of preparing the schooling system’s next generation of
head teachers and, alongside this change, introduced two new
pathways under the emergent/middle leadership strand, designed to
Dr Tom Hesketh reports on RTU’s emergent and senior leadership development programmes
Principals or Principals. It aims at both institutional effectiveness and
systems wide effectiveness now and into the future.
Building upon the significant work coming out of our recent
involvement in the OECD’s Improving School Leadership project,
meet the needs of teachers either beginning to take up leadership
responsibilities or those with significant middle leadership
responsibility within their schools. The two programmes – Steps into
Early Leadership Practice and Senior Leadership Pathways are
designed to give participants the opportunity to develop skills in the
RTU has created a leadership development framework that informs six key areas as defined in the National Standards for School Leaders.
the support and development of leaders at every stage of their career These are: Clear vision and high expectations; Leading learning and
Since 1977 there has been recognition that leadership is one of the and internationally. It plays a key role in improving school outcomes and contributes significantly to building leadership capacity at teaching; Promotion of intrapersonal and interpersonal skills;
most important factors in the success of schools (HMI/DES 1977). by influencing the motivations and capabilities of staff, as well as the system and school levels. RTU has a vital role in working with CASS, Promoting effective monitoring and evaluative practices;
Since then, the evidence base for leadership linked to learning has school climate and environment. Effective school leadership is CCMS and other education partners, to raise standards, narrow the Management of resources and responsibilities to the organisation;
grown enormously in both volume and sophistication and the claims essential to improve the efficiency and equity of schooling”. gap in educational achievement and to contribute to improving the and Working with the wider community.
have become more assertive. quality of leadership and management in all schools - but particularly
The Department of Education’s Every School a Good School: a Policy for in those in formal intervention or at risk of formal intervention. Leadership is essentially the process of building and maintaining a
As Christopher Day, Professor of Education and Co-Director of the School Improvement identifies leadership as a key component of We believe that the leadership development framework will make a sense of vision, culture and interpersonal relationships, with other
Teacher and Leadership Research Centre, has asserted: “As far as we school improvement. The document recognises the importance of major contribution towards these ends. people in leading and managing change, raising pupil achievement,
are aware there is not a single documented case of a school strong and effective governance and leadership within schools in sharing good practice and contributing to the overall school
successfully turning around its pupil achievement trajectory in the helping to maintain and improve standards. Recently, the Assembly’s The RTU suite of professional development programmes have been improvement. It is no longer the preserve of the head but rather
absence of talented leadership”. Education Committee has affirmed the critical importance of school aligned to the framework and all are underpinned by: national distributed among a range of staff involved in leadership tasks.
leadership when it launched an enquiry into successful practices in standards for school leadership; adult learning principles; emphasis
There is now a global consensus concerning the linkage between the context of socio economic deprivation. upon a leadership e-portfolio; and underpinned by innovative The Steps into Early Leadership Practice programme is designed to
leadership practices on the one hand and pupil learning on the other. practice in leadership development. develop professional knowledge and understanding, together with
According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Investment in leadership development is a key prerequisite for management and leadership capabilities, of those within the school
Development (OECD) Improving School Leadership Project: “School effective leadership. This was a key finding of the OECD’s Improving A priority area within the leadership development framework is the community who have held a position of responsibility for less than
Leadership has become a priority in education policy agendas locally School Leadership project. emergent/middle leadership strand. ESAGS, recent Chief Inspector three years e.g. leading a key stage or subject area, a pastoral role or
Reports, the OECD report and annual survey of needs by schools some other leadership responsibility. It aims to lay the foundation of
clearly identifies this as an important area to be developed. Emergent leadership skills and is underpinned by the National Standards for
leadership development is crucial if the promises underpinning School Leaders.
education reform are to be realised. Investment by the system in
those moving for the first time into a leadership role is also an The Senior Leadership Pathways (SLP) programme will support senior
essential ingredient for ensuring that future leadership supply leaders as they develop the skills and attributes required to bring
is secured. about improvement in our schools. It is likely that applicants for this
programme will have experience at senior leadership level for more
than three years and may be considering the next steps on their
personal career pathway, perhaps leading to an application for PQH
(NI), in the next few years. The SLP consists of self-directed study with
focused support. A key skill of competent senior leaders is that they
are proactive in pursuit of their own learning and, by participating in
the SLP, candidates will practice this skill.
Building leadership capacity is one of the key ingredients in
schooling system effectiveness. The department ‘s continuing
support for this agenda marked Northern Ireland out as both
visionary and strategic amongst the twenty three jurisdictions
involved in the OECD’s Improving School Leadership project. The
challenge now is to translate past and current investment in school
leadership development into better learning gains for all of our pupils
now and into the future.
For further information, please visit www.rtuni.org
classroom. The sessions are well structured - the children get their kit school. Teachers participating in the project are well supported with
on, we go out into the woods, have circle time to explain what we are expertise and resources, and enjoy the project as much as the children.”
going to do, then we break up into groups to do an activity. The
children are set a challenge, how they undertake it is up to them, there Following the successes of the pilot, Hazelwood has expanded its
is no right or wrong way. They have the opportunity, through play, to Forest School Programme. This academic year the school has used its
learn about the natural environment, how to handle risk, and most Extended Schools funding to offer “taster” sessions to eight local
importantly to use their own initiative to solve problems and cooperate schools to introduce them to the concept, and hopefully encourage
with others. We then come together again at the end to evaluate how them to develop their own programme. The aim is to create a “cluster
they’ve done and talk through the processes they have gone through. group” of schools involved in Forest School delivery to share
experiences and expertise and to provide support.
“So far it has been highly successful and we have seen a real
improvement in the work produced in the classroom after each session, Whitehouse Primary School was one of the first schools to take part in
as well as happy and fulfilled children. The children are also bringing the taster sessions. Teachers and pupils enjoyed the whole experience
these experiences home and are asking their parents to take them to the so much and saw its value that funding has now been secured from
wood at the weekend or in the school holidays which is an added bonus. Newtownabbey Borough Council to run a full 16-week programme
with a class visiting the local council park every week.
“As a school, we are fairly self-sufficient now, staff are trained so they
then have the skills and confidence to take the children out on these “We know the concept works and we want to get the message out
valuable learning experiences. This is learning in its purest form
because you are not relying on text books or interactive white boards,
there,” added Jim McDaid. “This it is not yet another initiative to
overwhelm teachers with - it is something that will help them deliver
the initiative connects children to their outdoor environment, stimulating curiosity
and inspiring a love of the natural world that is likely to remain long after the end
NI’s first Forest School of primary school. Teachers participating in the project are well supported with
expertise and resources, and enjoy the project as much as the children
you are experiencing things first hand. These experiences really are the revised curriculum. The programme is so relevant to what we are
Pioneering primary in north Belfast brings its outdoor classroom to life multi-sensory approaches to learning. That’s the thrill that our children doing in Foundation Stage and Key Stages 1 and 2 and has allowed us
get and they love it. to cover so many areas such as Personal Development and Mutual
Understanding, Thinking Skills and Personal Capabilities and the World
“Some of our children come from disadvantaged backgrounds and are Around Us. In fact, when you look at the diagram which illustrates the
“If you go down to the woods today…..you’re sure of a big surprise”. self-esteem, greater confidence and independence, and improved often disengaged in their learning. This project has ignited their “Big Picture of the Curriculum at Key Stages 1 and 2” the Forest School
But, contrary to the famous children’s song, if the woodland in question language and communication skills. They also noted additional health enthusiasm, and although it sounds clichéd, they get to experience programme pretty much ticks all the boxes.”
is Throne Wood in north Belfast, you are more likely to find children and fitness benefits associated with physically being outdoors. success, they all find their own platform, and develop their own
engrossed in a wide range of outdoor activities, rather than teddy thought process. Everyone who comes back from a Forest School For further information on the Forest School Programme
bears having a picnic! Three years later, Throne Wood is now a fully fledged outdoor classroom and session feels they have accomplished something. A lot of children have contact Brian Poots, Northern Ireland Forest School
Hazelwood has been recognised as Northern Ireland’s first Forest School. self esteem issues or learning difficulties - in Forest School they find Association on mobile 07790 884 522 or at
Several years ago, teaching staff at Hazelwood Integrated Primary their own level. They really do value the experience in the wood and it www.nifsa.org.uk.
School in Newtownabbey had the vision of using a neighbouring area “The Forest School ethos is widespread throughout Europe,” explained filters back into the classroom.”
of woodland as an outdoor classroom to develop environmental NIFSA Director Brian Poots. “The model is based on a Scandinavian idea
education and enhance the learning experiences of their pupils. In that considers children’s contact with nature to be extremely Hazelwood’s Forest School programme and its use of outdoor learning
January 2008, the school embarked on an exciting and innovative pilot important from an early age.” has been recognised by the Education and Training Inspectorate, the
project with the Northern Ireland Forest School Association (NIFSA) - a Association for Science Education and the Belfast Education and
newly formed charity, set up to promote the Forest School ethos. Forest School is characterised by regular visits to an outdoor setting, Library Board as a particular strength and an example of good practice.
over a long period of time so that children can observe seasonal
During the year-long pilot Brian Poots, NIFSA Director and qualified changes, regardless of weather, and the sessions must be facilitated by As Dr. Gillian Humes, BELB Science Advisor said: “This is one of the few
Forest School Leader, worked with Hazelwood one day every week, trained and qualified leaders. Clear boundaries are established, pupils projects that truly integrates all elements of the revised curriculum.
taking pupils, teachers and sometimes parents to Throne Wood to are given the freedom to explore using multiple senses, and the focus It incorporates aspects of history, geography and science, delivers an
participate in a series of specially crafted lessons, which included tree, is on the whole child, not just their academic ability. By incorporating opportunity to develop thinking skills and personal capabilities, and
leaf and wildflower identification, den building, whittling, and fire safety. innovative approaches to learning, pupils are encouraged to develop has a strong emphasis on promoting numeracy and literacy.
their curiosity and motivation to learn.”
The pupils thought the programme was a fantastic experience: one even “Even more importantly than this, the initiative connects children to
described it as “the best day at school ever”. Teaching staff, evaluating the Jim McDaid, Year 7 teacher and Forest School coordinator at Hazelwood their outdoor environment, stimulating curiosity and inspiring a love of
Forest School Programme after the first year, noted that pupils had higher said: “In a Forest School, the natural environment is used as an outdoor the natural world that is likely to remain long after the end of primary
Collaboration between schools in the Roe Valley demonstrates huge potential
As the future face of education in Northern Ireland continues to be “Across our schools we already had an established programme of shared
debated and budgets become increasingly stretched, there have been provision at Key Stage 4 and post-16. SEP will enable us to build on that
suggestions that schools should start looking at ways of working together solid foundation and work at a much deeper and wider level. It will give
to maximise effectiveness and for the greater good of all their pupils. us the resources to enrich and strengthen the good work that is already
ongoing, to extend the learning opportunities for our young people and
Some may find it interesting to note that effective collaboration between continue to build bridges within the community.
schools is already taking place on quite a large scale in Northern Ireland.
Over the past three years, more than 4,000 pupils from some 60 schools “This is our first year in the programme and already there is integration
have been working together as a result of The Sharing Education between all five schools at every level - principals, teachers, pupils, and
Programme. And this academic year, a second round of three-year parents. We now have joint PE, Science, Citizenship, Learning for Life and
partnerships has begun - one of which is located in the Roe Valley Work and vocational classes. In addition the Linking Learning Programme
between Limavady Grammar School, St Patrick College in Dungiven, focuses on the transition between Key Stage 2 and 3.
Rossmar School, Limavady High School and St Mary’s Limavady.
“We had a highly successful ‘Love for Life’ (relationships and sexuality)
The Sharing Education Programme (SEP) is a £3.6 million, three-year programme for all Year 8 pupils which included a well attended
programme which promotes reconciliation by facilitating collaborative information and briefing session for their parents. We meet the
work in schools and the community. Funded by the International Fund for requirements of the Entitlement Framework - and across our schools we
Ireland and Atlantic Philanthropies, the SEP is managed by Queen's are delivering in excess of 29 subjects at A Level. We have established a
University. The funding encourages schools from different management Gaelic football team across the post primary schools - which in itself
sectors to make working together closely an integral part of school life would have been quite contentious at one time. There is collaboration
and enables pupils to access a greatly enhanced range of educational between the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme and the President’s
and social opportunities while at the same time developing positive
relationships with those from different backgrounds. Following the
Award, we have a very popular Saturday club - offering a wide range of
extra curricular activities and we have established a joint Student Council.
Partner schools’ views on the Sharing Education Programme
successful bid by St Mary’s Limavady, funding was secured from the SEP
for the five schools in the Roe Valley Learning Community (RVLC). “Now that the programme is up and running, we want to build on it, to “The Sharing Education Programme has given a welcome boost to what “We see the Shared Education Programme as an opportunity not only
extend the learning opportunities, and continue to make it fun, we have been trying to do, educationally, in the Roe Valley for many years. to work in a cross-community context but also as a means of
Mrs Celine McKenna, Principal of St Mary’s Limavady and Chairperson exciting and a little bit different. We have been given the opportunity The funding has enabled us to think outside the box, to bring many broadening the scope of the Learning Community and addressing the
of the RVLC, explained: “The Roe Valley Learning Community has for a to enrich the lives of our young people and to get them to realise that young people into joint programmes that might not otherwise have gulf between Special Schools and mainstream. In the short time this
number of years worked together to give the young people of our area having the opportunity to grow together and learn together is a been part of any shared educational experience. The pupils benefit hugely programme has been in existence we are already seeing the benefits of
the best possible opportunities in their education. The award of this magnificent privilege.” in many ways, some of which, as adults, we don't even recognise or inter school working both in terms of the curriculum and the social
funding will now allow these schools to continue ‘Shaping Futures understand. In shared classes now, uniform doesn't seem to matter; there development of all the pupils concerned,”
Together’ in an exciting and challenging manner.” is an un-fussy acceptance of the fact that classes may be shared with kids Mr Brian Mc Laughlin, Principal of Rossmar School
in different uniforms, kids who at 11 were told they were capable or
incapable of a particular type of education, kids whose religious “One of the many highlights of the Sharing Education Programme has
background may have placed them in different schools. The pupils been the development of a Sixth Form joint Roe Valley Gaelic football
develop relationships across the various divides, their circles of friendship team. This gives pupils from the different schools the opportunity to train
and acquaintance grow and intersect as they develop tolerance of each together and take part in competitive fixtures.”
other's differences and a deeper appreciation of the things they have in Mr Robert Wilson, Limavady Grammar School
common. Above all, they are in a school system which models
co-operation and collaboration, an example to them and to the wider “In this current economic climate, the sharing of resources in this area has
community of how things can be in their society.” been a godsend to us. We have been able to extend on the shared
Mr David Dunlop, Principal Limavady High School provision that we already had. It is a timely opportunity for all the partner
schools and an excellent example of a collaborative way of working. Each
“The collaboration between our schools is allowing pupils to attend partner school still has its own unique ethos, identity and areas of expertise
meaningful courses that will enhance their job opportunities in the but SEP enables each of us build on our own strengths but also benefit
future. SEP allows young people to access courses that are general or from the strengths of partner schools. We have nothing to lose but
vocational in line with the Entitlement Framework. The pupils that everything to gain and together we are improving educational and social
access courses in collaboration with a RVLC school place themselves in provision for children in the Roe Valley.”
an environment that treats them exactly the same as the pupils already Mrs Rita Moore, Vice Principal, St Mary’s Limavady
attending their home school. They can mix with children from differing
cultural backgrounds in an educational setting that is conducive to “Through this programme we are starting to really see the huge potential
teaching, learning and achievement. Working in conjunction with of shared education – the possibilities are endless if we all work together.
leaders from other schools gives me a chance to share ideas and Here in the Roe Valley you can see what collaborative education could
methods of work that are related to pupils’ education within the look like. We are not saying we have it down to a tee but there is a very
partnership and within our own school.” interesting model being implemented here that is worth considering.”
Mr Gearoid Rafferty, Vice Principal, St. Patrick’s College, Dungiven Mr Stephen Keown, RVLC SEP Coordinator
Healthyhealthy minds us. During our annual Health Promotion Week children are
encouraged to be active, taking part in specially organised activities,
such as, ‘how far can you walk?’ Teachers and parents of various
occupations have worn pedometers to check how active they are
and in assemblies children compared the results which were of
great interest to the teachers and children alike!
Safety is another area that we promote. All Foundation Stage and Key
Stage 1 children must wear helmets when they ride bicycles in our
Leading charity Action Cancer said it has seen a marked improvement in the standard of health promotion in Northern Ireland schools, as its school playground and prize money won for our Health Action
eighth annual health awards were presented last term in conjunction with independent retail group Centra. These awards, conceived as a means Award will be used to buy new helmets. Last year a Helmet Safety
of encouraging schools to put a greater focus on pupil health and to showcase the best practice from across Northern Ireland, are part of Action Talk and resources such as reflectors and bells were given by the
Cancer’s Health Action initiative, which offers a range of health promotion roadshows for primary and secondary schools, as well as further owner of a local cycle shop. The PSNI and our Road Safety Officer
education colleges and is sponsored by Centra. More than 300,000 young people have taken part in Health Action since 2003. provide talks on ‘Stranger Danger’, wearing seat belts and crossing
the road safely. One morning our local pharmacist was available for
A tiered points-based system of Gold, Silver and Bronze Awards is used to reward schools for their innovative approaches to health education for Cumran Primary School cholesterol and blood pressure testing in our school - parents and
pupils, including those with extra-curricular exercise programmes, healthy meals, cancer awareness projects and education on the dangers of
members of the local community were invited to get medical advice.
smoking and alcohol. Encouragingly, the number of schools receiving awards is up almost 30 per cent on the previous academic year. “Our Health Promotion Team promotes health in all areas of school life Year 6 / 7 children can attend a Heart Start club after school to learn
and each year an action plan is written with specific targets. Nutrition emergency first aid skills.
Some of this year’s top performing schools share their stories below, opposite and on pages 18-21.
will be promoted this year when the dentist speaks to children about
Nursery schools, primary schools and secondary schools wishing to enter the 2011 Health Action Awards can download the application the importance of eating healthy snacks and this will further Our teachers and classroom assistants have had training in
form now at www.actioncancer.org/services/Health-Promotion/Health-Action-Awards. All applications must be returned to: Michelle consolidate our Healthy Break Policy. Children will discuss healthy implementing positive behaviour strategies. A School Council has
Havern, Action Cancer House, 1 Marlborough Park, Belfast BT9 6XS by no later than 29th April 2011. For further information on all other school dinners through a talk with catering services and a healthy been set up and this year we are creating happier, healthier
Health Action initiatives, please call Action Cancer on 02890 803344. lunchbox session will be provided by Action Cancer for parents. playtimes by establishing a Playground Buddy System. We are
environmentally friendly and have sought the help of the Mourne
Physical activity is promoted whenever possible. As well as having Heritage Trust and our Education and Library Board to enhance our
after school activities, we have active play sessions for Foundation school grounds. We are an Emotionally Intelligent School and focus
Stage children and have invited toddlers from our local area to join on a particular character trait each month.”
Gortin Primary School
“Traditionally health promotion has been taught in a cross-curricular
way but within the revised curriculum we feel it has a central focus
in both Personal Development and Mutual Understanding and the
World Around Us with many opportunities for activity-based
learning. Our weekly sports club offers sessions in sports such as
football, hockey, volleyball, basketball, netball, tennis and cricket and
coaches are invited in to provide expertise in PE lessons. A weekly
gardening club offers children opportunities to plant, tend, weed
and enhance the school grounds while developing active learning
and thinking skills outside the classroom.
Cooley Primary School & Nursery Unit
We have a well developed healthy morning break strategy for staff Our very active Student Council held a playground buddies training
“As well as achieving gold in the Action Cancer Health Awards, we were Personal Development and Mutual Understanding has been and pupils. Fresh fruit is chopped into smaller portions by classroom session and organise buddies on a rota who offer support and
also awarded the top prize in the Health Promoting Schools Award. Many enhanced by all teaching staff delivering the ‘Heartstart’ programme. assistants and each child can avail of four or five different portions mediation between sparing friends in the playground. They have
aspects of school life focus on promoting a positive health message. A As pupils progress through the school, they gain vital lifesaving skills. of fruit per day at a cost of just 50p per week. Foundation Stage also organised fundraising events and have made successful
wide range of health promotion policies are in place and are reviewed on A number of outside agencies assist the school in promoting health children participate in the social practice of helping to prepare a requests for changes to school life. We participate in events such
a regular basis and Cooley equips its pupils and parents with the and wellbeing education such as the Northern Ireland Commissioner healthy snack during play-based learning and develop skills such as as ‘No Smoking Day, ‘Stay Safe in the Sun’ and ‘Bee Safe’ workshops
necessary knowledge to make an informed decision on a healthy lifestyle. for Children and Young People, Action Cancer, Ulster Cancer setting the table, toasting, buttering, cutting, pouring, eating, covering safety at home, on the road, bus, and farm and
Foundation and the Police Service of Northern Ireland. Being in a rural clearing the table, washing up and tidying away. around electricity.
We ensure that children enjoy a portion of fruit or vegetables at break setting Cooley recognises and values community involvement in
time along with their milk or water. To ensure that lunch boxes are not promoting healthy attitudes and is supported by a local pharmacist, Parents are fully informed and involved and support our healthy lunch Year 6/7 participated in ‘Hope North West’ (a four-week healthy
crammed with junk food, we encourage a healthier option through dentist and school nurse in getting across the healthy message. box strategy. Alternatively, a hot and nutritious school meal provided living programme) and the PSNI Citizenship programme to help
participation in the ‘Munch Box Challenge’ and the ‘Smart Snack by the WELB catering services can also be purchased. Parents them prepare to transfer to secondary school. During Anti-Bullying
Award’. The importance of health education in the curriculum is The physical wellbeing of the pupils is developed through a wide participated in a ‘creating healthy meals on a budget’ workshop and week, we held a parents’ evening on internet safety which featured
reinforced by school kitchen staff who serve delicious and nutritious range of sporting activities such as the Physical Literacy programme, also in a six-week ‘Cook It’ programme where they learned how to an age-appropriate talk by the PSNI on different aspects of bullying,
meals and organise themed days to tie in with curricular events. hockey, badminton, and cycling proficiency. Instead of the traditional prepare nutritious meals for all the family. Children can order fresh recognition of bullying and skills to deal with the bully. Each class
Parents are regularly updated on health initiatives through newsletters, sports day, we opt for an all inclusive ‘It’s A Knockout’ event where all milk daily and all classrooms have water coolers installed. All pupils held their circle time and workshop activities with ideas used from
fliers and promotional literature and have had the opportunity to children are active throughout the day.” participate in a ‘Smiles’ dental programme, a workshop provided by the Northern Ireland Anti Bullying Forum. Parents were provided
sample school meals which included a special breakfast event. our dental therapist, and they brush their teeth in school once per day. with a ‘Say no to bullying’ pack to support understanding at home.”
that balanced meals and healthy options were provided for all our pupils McClintock Primary School
who range from 4-19 years of age. This includes a salad bar in the
summer months. Water dispensers have been placed around the school “We have taken a proactive approach and harnessed the expertise of
and all children have access to water throughout the day. We have the staff, the local community and outside agencies to provide a wide
worked closely with our dental hygienist. range of opportunities to infuse health promotion into the daily lives
of the whole school community. To encourage the uptake of healthy
Our Extended Schools funding was used to provide after school sports dinners, the WELB’s Catering Service and the school arranged a very
and fitness clubs. We had one for pupils, parents and staff. This was well successful ‘Harvest Lunch’ where parents and carers were invited to
attended, great fun and provided an opportunity for our parents to sample the food provided in school. We operate a healthy break
participate in a leisure activity in a familiar environment with their child. policy and speakers are invited into school to talk on a wide range of
After school activities can be difficult to access for many of our pupils and health related issues such as bullying, pastoral care and healthy eating.
all who attended enjoyed it, participated enthusiastically and improved
their fitness levels. All of our pupils have the opportunity to go swimming The school has linked up with parents, the wider community and
coaching for pupils such as Hip Hop Dance, Gymnastics, Rugby and
on a weekly basis whether to the local leisure centre or in our own hydro external organisations to establish an imaginative eco-garden within
Athletics. The Love for Life programme has been beneficial for Year 7
pool. Some of our Post 16 pupils attend the gym in a local hotel once a the school grounds to encourage pupils to appreciate their local
pupils and last year we had a successful after-school healthy cookery
week and go to a weekly yoga session. Coaches have also been in school environment. Educational research indicates that learning in the
club for Years 1-7. Key Stage 2 pupils take part in Cycling Proficiency
to teach the fundamental skills for dance, hockey, football and rugby. great outdoors has a positive impact upon the health, emotional
and swimming lessons.
wellbeing and educational attainment of children. Our pupils also
Lisanally Special School Staff members have received Bereavement Counselling and are aware grow their own organic fruit and vegetables and can work and relax
Funding from our Parent Support Group and external grants has
that there is a confidential Counselling Service available through the in the eco-garden. In the autumn term this year the school received
“We won the most improved school this year. Last year we did a lot of transformed the playground into a colourful and welcoming place for
SELB. Staff members have accessed Primary Movement Training, the prestigious Impact Award for Bio-diversity. This recognised our
work on our whole school approach to healthy eating. We reviewed our pupils. A friendship bench has been purchased and the older pupils
Coaching/Sports training and many have achieved a lifesaving progressive attempts in bringing the huge benefits of the natural
policy in consultation with pupils and parents and agreed a way forward have been trained in the ‘Playground Pals’ programme to foster good
qualification. Some teachers attended Action Cancer’s Wally and Wise environment into the realms of the classroom.
for our school. We produced a healthy eating flyer which summarised the relations in the playground.
training in the use of puppets in delivering lessons on health education.
key points of our policy and this was distributed to each family. We We also had the Wally and Wise puppet show in school and look forward Each class promotes health and wellbeing through the Northern
received the Boost Better Breaks Award as our breaks are all healthy. As a One of the most innovative ways McClintock has reached out to the
to accessing more of Action Cancer’s talks and programmes in 2011.” Ireland curriculum, involving areas such as the World Around Us and
school we also worked closely with the School Meals Service to ensure community and enhanced teaching and learning within the school
Personal Development and Mutual Understanding. The Department
has been the through the introduction of the Heartstart programme.
of Education’s ‘Physical Literacy’ programme has been a success in
The Heartstart programme is taught to Year 1-7 pupils and they learn
Foundation and Key Stage One classes. Each teacher takes an after-
crucial emergency life saving techniques. This was extended to the
school activity, with a healthy emphasis on sports provision. Youth
Maguiresbridge Primary School visits from Action Renewables, the Energy Saving Trust, and the Royal whole school staff and the local community where evening training
Sport West and Omagh District Council provide other extra-curricular
Society for the Protection of Birds. Key Stage 2 pupils enjoyed visiting sessions were arranged and certificates issued.”
“Our Health Promotion Team has worked enthusiastically to promote Fermanagh District Council’s Landfill Site and this then led to the
a healthy lifestyle for the whole school community. Initially we establishment of a successful recycling centre in our school for use by
the wider community. The Conservation Agency assisted Year 6/7 Service of Northern Ireland. They include activities such as children
identified three priority areas: Nutrition and Oral Health; the
pupils with the design and planting of a wildlife area. There was being shown how to throw out a life ring to simply applying sun lotion.
Environment; and Child Protection. In order to address these areas,
great excitement towards the end of the school year when pupils and Fit Factor Day, each November, entails a healthy breakfast for staff and
pupils, staff, parents and visitors from the wider school community
staff welcomed the arrival of four hens. pupils followed by a talk or demonstration. Pupils then walk down to the
took part in focus weeks whereby exciting and innovative activities
local leisure centre where they carousel around a number of activities.
for each initiative were integrated into teaching and learning, with
Through our work in health promotion, it has been our aim that These activities include agility, aerobics and relaxation. There will always
the help and support of outside agencies.
pupils understand the benefits and importance of a healthy lifestyle, be a relaxation or yoga type activity alongside a talk, demonstration or
that they have been well informed about the potential dangers in workshop. A healthy ‘Cook It’ workshop is also included where pupils
During November all classes participated in Anti Bullying Week with
society and have been given strategies on how to cope with these return to a healthy dinner at which their parents and the community
pupils participating in activities such as ‘Helping Hands’, ‘Stranger
safely and efficiently. We are indebted to our Parent Support Group join us.
Danger’ and ‘Bee Safe’. Year 6/7 pupils were also made aware of the
dangers of cyber bullying. They were then able to host a for their financial and practical support in all of the above events.”
A wide variety of programmes are organised for parents and members
‘Grandparents to School Day’ whereby they taught their
of the community including First Aid; Diabetes and Asthma Awareness,
grandparents how to use the Internet Safely.
Moat Primary School Parenting Ur Teen, Cook It, ICT, Yoga and Keep Fit. The school has healthy
breakfasts for pupils and parents, and healthy breaks and lunches on a
The Healthy Week was launched with a ‘Healthy Heart’ awareness
“Our motto is ‘Caring, Learning, Achieving’ and caring engulfs all that daily basis.
morning for the wider school community. This was facilitated by the
Chest, Heart and Stroke Association. Other events during the week happens in this school. The Moat Primary School has actively promoted
a variety of fitness routines, games, dance, and gymnastics alongside The Personal Development and Mutual Understanding programme
included ‘Parents to Lunch’, a Cookery Demonstration, Fitness
Healthy Food Tasting days, Safety Awareness days, Fit Factor days and involves each class examining relevant and topical issues. The PSNI and
sessions by ARC and Freddy Fitness, a talk from Action Cancer, fruit
courses for staff, parents, pupils and the community. SD KELLS recently sponsored reflective jackets and wrist bands for all
tasting (sponsored by TESCO) and a tooth brushing session. Friday
pupils and staff.
afternoon clubs provide further opportunities for pupils to engage in
health promoting activities such as cookery, football, skipping, A Bee Safe Day is organised on the school premises for the pupils with
ten different activities that groups carousel around. Activities are based The school has added an Adventure Trail to its school grounds to further
walking, running and gardening.
on aspects of safety such as: farm, water, kitchen, sun, internet, and fire. improve the health and wellbeing of all the children. After school
Almost all activities are hands-on and are facilitated by members of the activities as well as PE lessons allow all pupils to sample a variety of
An ‘Environmental Week’ was held with World Around Us lessons
community, the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service and the Police sports and leisure pursuits. The pupils have an active voice in the school
focussing on recycling, conservation and sustainability. There were
from classroom circle time to School Council Meetings.”
Some of our ongoing initiatives include the promotion of physical play St Malachy’s Primary School
through, for example, ‘Playground Pals’ - where older pupils are trained to
teach traditional games to younger pupils. We have also enhanced the “We have been a recipient of Health Action award for the past five
Physical Education curriculum by using volunteer and professional years. In becoming part of the Health Promoting Schools Programme,
coaches to develop physical fitness and skills during P.E. lessons and after St Malachy’s became more committed to promoting the healthy
school clubs. These activities are in turn promoting staff development. lifestyles of everyone within the school community. We pride
ourselves on being a ‘learner centred’ school, and endeavour to
Our Parents’ Association is playing an ever increasing role in supporting establish an holistic approach to health promotion within our school
the school’s healthy eating and sports events. We have developed and ensuring that our learning and teaching approaches are well suited
promoted our Healthy Break and Nutrition policies through special focus to the different needs, aptitudes and learning styles of our pupils.
events such as ‘Healthy Heart Day’, fruit taster days, wellbeing and
pamper events for parents and staff, and visits to supermarkets and farms. Over the last few years we have developed our after school
programme to include 22 activities. A lot of these activities promote
Each year group participates in cross-curricular activities which promote physical activity. Healthy eating is developed through healthy breaks are invited into the school to help deliver different programmes
health. For example, our Year 7 classes purchase ingredients to make scheme as well as through the cookery, gardening, life skills and relating to health and wellbeing for the children.
healthy sandwiches for Years 1-3 classes as part of a Financial Capability breakfast clubs.
topic. We have involved the School Council in overseeing participation in The Character Approach to Problem Solving (Caps) Programme has
Enniskillen Model Primary School the ‘Munchbox Challenge’ where members deliver key messages to The school also promotes healthy lifestyles through the inclusion of proven to be very successful in developing citizenship within our
other pupils relating to food groups, offer guidance on healthy packed outside agencies and schemes such as Life Education Centre, Save school. We focus on a different character trait every month and the
“Our health and wellbeing initiatives are a team effort, overseen by a lunches and reward pupils for best practice. Our Smiles, Cool in School, Be Safe programme, Heartstart, children explore each trait through art, drama, music, role play using
range of coordinators and support staff. Here in Enniskillen Model Smokebusters, Helping Hands and Walk to School Week. While Health puppets, circle time and assemblies. It has been incorporated into our
Primary our school aims highlight the importance of the emotional A ‘Breakfast Club’ now operates on a more regular basis and we Education is taught throughout the year in all year groups, we do positive behaviour policy and has become embedded within the
security and physical wellbeing of all our pupils. occassionally invite parents to come in to sample our dinner menu with have a Health Education Month in January where a number of visitors ethos of the school.”
A ‘Pledges Board’ installed in our foyer promotes the Super Six targets
from the Northern Ireland Children’s and Young People’s Strategy and Staff and pupils know that these and our other initiatives are not aspects of life. Agencies such as Action Cancer, PSNI, Barnardos, NSPCC,
celebrates our endeavours in each of the six areas. These targets form the gimmicks - they are fundamental to our ethos and practice. Awards such NIABF and many others help us to deliver our programme in a diverse
core principles of our policies and practices in Personal Development as ‘Health Action’ allow us to showcase our efforts and help further the and interesting way.
and Mutual Understanding and other curriculum areas including good work within our school. “
Pastoral Care. We also recognise the value and importance of emotional health and
wellbeing. We have successfully created and implemented pupil, parent
and staff programmes on developing emotional intelligence. These are
now embedded into the culture of our school and are central to the
positive influences on the development of individuals’ mental health.
St Colmcille’s Primary School & Nursery Unit and this motivated 70% of the whole school to choose walking.
Parents were fully supportive of this healthy alternative and cars were
left at home. Through our Nuture Programme we have created a special environment
“We have found it very encouraging to gain recognition for the health
uniquely different from the classroom which gives children a space
promoting projects that are going on within our school community.
In St Colmcille’s Primary School we offer a large variety of exercise within which they can be helped with their own individual needs -
At all stages a whole school approach to health improvement is
programmes and physical activities both during and after school. social, emotional or physical. Play therapy and Drawing and Talking
adopted. It is recognised that every child has the right to say what
These include soccer, Gaelic, tag rugby, line dancing, Irish dancing, therapy have been recently introduced with our own trained teachers
they think in all matters affecting them, and to have their views taken St Joseph’s Primary School, Crumlin
netball, fundamental movement skills, and cycling proficiency. In working on a one-to-one basis with children. Many children have
seriously (UNCRC Article 12).
doing this we encourage the children to be active rather than passive benefited from the ten-week ‘Seasons For Growth’ programme
“We recognise our duty of care to work in partnership with parents and
in their free time and hopefully set the basis for good health and provided by Cloona Contact Centre, which helps children who have
As a result the School Council and School Eco-team have played a key the community to champion the health and wellbeing of all of our
active choices in the future.” suffered loss through bereavement or separation. Working with the
role in recent health initiatives, for example monitoring the ‘Munch children. Over the years we have built up an extensive programme and
Multi Agency Support Teams has been an additional support to many
Box Challenge’, recognising the need for playground games, we are always looking for innovative and exciting ways to reinforce the
children in Years 1 - 4, helping them to overcome difficulties and support
involvement in the planning of the new play park and actively message about healthy lifestyles.
their overall development.
participating in Eco School Initiatives as we make our journey
towards being awarded Green Flag status. Our pupils and parents have responded enthusiastically to our Fun Fitness
We have two after school clubs (Youth Zone and Jumping Joes) which
Club which looks at diet and exercise. The NEELB dietician and a fitness
offer a much-needed community resource and allow children in Years 2-
Three staff members were trained to lead the cycling proficiency coach from the school work in partnership with children and their parents
7 to develop their social skills in a fun and interactive way. Children are
programme and this capacity building has resulted in Y6 and Y7 in an after school setting. Children and parents learn together about the
given a wide choice of activities, including arts and crafts, drama and
children annually completing their cycling proficiency training. benefits of healthy eating and exercise. Participation improves pupil self-
singing, and sports and games.
Children are actively encouraged to cycle or walk to school as a healthy esteem as well as their overall fitness levels. The school continues to
alternative. We took part in a whole school “Safer Route to School” promote healthy lifestyles through our focus on walking or cycling to
School and class councils and the Eco committee give children a voice
project in partnership with SUSTRANS and this initiative increased the school and have now dedicated bike stands for the children to use.
to effect change and work as part of the strategic team. Peer Mediation
numbers of children cycling and walking to school by 11%.
has been recently introduced through participation in a NEELB pilot.
A year-long programme of events and guest speakers reflects the broad
Year 7 pupils have been given the opportunity to practise the skills of
We hold “Walk to School” events every year and through the range of health issues addressed. Making full use of the services available
listening, being impartial, helping others to sort out difficulties and have
“Travelwise Walk to School Week” we promoted class league tables in the community we strive to provide children with appropriate
been helped to gain a true sense of respect, responsibility and trust.”
information to help them to make healthy choices in relation to all
twenty twenty one
Video conferencing offers endless opportunities. Below Accessing Previously Unavailable Courses
are examples of ways in which innovative local schools Some schools, especially those in rural areas, aren’t able to offer certain
have been using video conferencing in the classroom. courses that their students might want. Even those in urban areas often
lack enough teachers in certain subject areas. Many pupils and schools
Connect with Experts could benefit from having courses offered through C2k’s Virtual
Many schools across Northern Ireland have had great success and Classroom that they might not be able to access otherwise. Instead of
derived significant educational benefit from connecting their pupils with having to commute long distances between different schools, teachers
experts through video conferencing. Pupils have recently linked to an can teach through video conferencing.
artist on Rathlin Island, a storyteller in the Glens of Antrim and politicians
in Stormont, all positive learning experiences that have been achieved at Professional Development
no cost or disruption to the schools involved. Video conferencing offers a convenient way for teachers to access
additional professional development. Video conferencing gives teachers
Virtual Field Trips access to a wide range of professional development providers and
Any school field trip usually requires a lot of preparation and expense, opportunities without having to travel, leave the school environment or
from transport to insurance. Virtual field trips are becoming increasingly cost the school in terms of time and money.
common in video conferencing schools. The availability and access to
virtual field trips across Northern Ireland is increasing as private and For further information on these exciting collaborative
public sector providers see the benefits and opportunities offered by the technologies please contact your local C2k office.
technology to reach a wider range of pupils and teachers.
Training and support is currently being rolled out by C2k.
Pupils in a classroom in Kilkeel could connect with pupils in Coleraine
and work together on a collaborative activity. In the past, collaborative
is now a valued element of the teaching and learning activities might have been limited to one classroom or one school, video
conferencing allows students in multiple schools in Northern Ireland and
experience in schools throughout Northern Ireland. the wider world to work together on relevant or shared issues.
The technology to allow schools to communicate through audio and experience for the pupil. These include video, a chat facility, voting
video simultaneously has been around for a number of years and tools, a virtual ‘hand up’ tool and an interactive whiteboard, all within
many schools have made use of these technologies as they have a secure online environment.
developed and improved.
The Virtual Classroom is available within Northern Ireland and beyond,
In 2008 C2k launched its Virtual Classroom service to all schools in supporting schools in Comenius, EMU and Dissolving Boundaries
Northern Ireland. This comprehensive video conferencing suite was projects amongst others.
available to schools, through LearningNI.
C2k’s Desktop Video Conferencing service on the other hand is primarily
The Virtual Classroom uses audio and video to bring people at different a video conferencing tool. When installed on any computer, the Desktop
places together for a meeting or a lesson. This can be as simple as a Video Conferencing service allows it to act like a video conferencing unit.
conversation between two people or involve several classes at once with With the Desktop Video Conferencing service the picture and sound is
more than one person in large rooms at different schools. Video central and so the focus is on the speaker and their message. It is
conferencing can be used to share documents, computer-displayed designed to facilitate online meetings, peer collaboration, lectures and
information, and whiteboards. class debates, discussions and interviews.
The Virtual Classroom quickly became a significant teaching and learning Both the Virtual Classroom and the Desktop Video Conferencing service
resource for many schools as they embraced the opportunities it offered are being introduced by C2k to sustain and develop the existing
to motivate and stimulate pupils across the Key Stages. excellent video conferencing practice that already exists within Northern
C2k continues to take the lead in developing the use of these
technologies. This year C2k is upgrading and enhancing its Virtual Enthusiasm for video conferencing is spreading across the Key Stages
Classroom and Desktop Video Conferencing service. By the end of and throughout the various support agencies. This is being matched
February 2011 C2k will have given all schools in Northern Ireland access with video conferencing opportunities from many organisations both
to these upgraded and enhanced services. inside and outside Northern Ireland. These organisations include Belfast
Zoo, Armagh Planetarium and Stormont amongst many others. There
In the Virtual Classroom the focus is on the content of the lesson and have also been some exciting school-to-school links between schools in
a wide range of tools are available to compliment the learning Northern Ireland and schools in Europe and the United States.
twenty two twenty three
for Teacher Training
The University of Ulster (UU) at Coleraine and Jordanstown is ensuring that education students
become familiar with ICT provision in schools, particularly with the online learning environment,
LearningNI (LNI). A familiarity with this eLearning technology has been built into many of the
education programmes being offered, becoming an integral part of these courses.
One commented: “I have been using other people’s weekly reflections
to try and get ideas and active learning strategies that I could also use
with my classes. It makes you feel like you are still in a community of
students where each person is experiencing similar feelings.” Another
described the online collaboration as “a very supportive lifeline when
out on teaching practice.”
The use of the LNI system by students has grown very rapidly and the
numbers of courses accessed has also increased dramatically. Students
are accessing LNI at all hours of the day - this pattern would suggest
that students are finding that the system meets their needs, and that
they feel that they can access content and collaborative tools at any
time that suits them. One PGCE student summarised this succinctly: “I
use LNI most for keeping up to date with everything related to the
course - it’s great to have all the course info in one convenient place”.
Many of the students taking ‘Education as a Minor’ will do a stint in
schools acting as a tutor, and so they need to be familiar with ICT
provision in the classroom. Online resources in LNI are examined and
The University of Ulster is committed to equipping these prospective
teachers with the skills and insights that they will require when they
become part of the education service. Key to this is knowledge of the
LearningNI makes topics a
lot more fun!
systems that are there to support learning.
their potential in the classroom is considered. Additionally, the
collaborative tools available through LNI, such as discussions, courses,
It is the intent of the University of Ulster to develop the ICT skills of their
wikis, video conferencing and blogs, are explored and the ease by
students still further. A clear example is that all PGCE students will
which these spaces can be set up is demonstrated. In one outcome, in
complete the LNI User Award this year. Another development, using a
November 2010, a video-conference between UU undergraduates Last term Year 7 pupils at Ballykeel Primary in Ballymena had their first of being able to share work online was that their parents were able to
recent addition to the learning platform, is the piloting of the LNI blog
studying education and St Cecilia’s College students in Derry sparked a taste of doing their Christmas Topic through C2k’s LearningNI. view it at home. This was something that we have not been able to
tool for reflection during the second school placement, a task
lot of interest, culminating in a visit by the students to the school, Teachers, Shirlie Gregg and Jane Orr, provided a range of multimedia do previously, specifically with presentations, and was most
previously done using course discussions. Students will create a blog
where they saw ICT in action. tasks that encouraged their pupils to exchange ideas, pictures and rewarding for the children.”
over the duration of their placement, adding to it on a regular basis.
Each of these PGCE students will be able to comment on each other’s school work. Pupils participated in online discussions on a variety of
While ‘Education as a Minor’ students relish the opportunity to develop a Christmas topics - and more than 240 discussions were posted. Year 7 pupil Jessica commented: “I’ve been on the course site and
blogs and the blogs will also be accessible to the students’ UU lecturers
familiarity with the online environment used in most schools, PGCE I’ve shown my mum and dad quite a lot of what we have been
and to external examiners. The “centrality of reflective practice” is quite
students rely on LNI as an everyday tool. The learning environment is Shirlie Gregg commented: “The discussion forum worked extremely doing in school.”
rightly highlighted by the GTCNI, so the use of blogs in this way places
available to them from when they start their PGCE course and they are well. The pupils took part enthusiastically and willingly in the chats,
reflective practice in its proper position, making it easy for students to
given access to a range of online courses in LNI, including a subject- with some also contributing at home. We felt that as the discussions Shirley added: “Children really take to technology and LearningNI
reflect and for peers to comment on that reflection.
specific one. These courses are used to disseminate course information were online the children were more motivated to participate and provides this in a learning context. We felt the pupils were generally
but also, crucially, for collaborative discussions. This allows students to share their views. They are doing this at home all the time with sites more engaged as they had opportunities to express their views
Developing the skills and competencies associated with eLearning will
engage at times which suits them best, outside the PGCE timetabled day. like Facebook and Twitter so it didn’t feel like schoolwork.” openly, share their work in school and at home, and participate in
place these students in a strong position as they move into the
profession, enabling them to incorporate online environments their learning in an interesting way.”
The PGCE year is a very busy one for students, and during their school Because it is web-based, LearningNI is great for providing
appropriately in their classrooms to support the learning of pupils
placements they find that LNI allows them to share resources, to opportunities to exhibit pupils’ work for teachers, other pupils and For further information on LearningNI, please contact
across Northern Ireland.
exchange ideas and to reflect on lessons that went well, and those that parents, via the internet. “The workspace area on LearningNI was an George Blackwood, C2k Curriculum Consultant for
went less well. Were it not for LNI, the school placements could be effective way to share the children’s work,” said Jane Orr. “They were Primary and SEN by telephone on 028 9027 9030 ext
For further information please contact Linda Clarke, Head
lonely experiences away from the support of colleagues. Sharing the able to upload completed presentations, spreadsheets and word 2133, mobile 07717 228 755 or by email at
of School (email@example.com) or Stephen Roulston,
work and providing a means of passing on encouragement and, at documents and share these with their friends. The most popular part firstname.lastname@example.org
Lecturer in Education (email@example.com)
times, commiseration is much valued by the students.
twenty four twenty five
Active Learning & Teaching
“The pupil and teacher response to the project was very positive,” people involved in the lives of the drug user and the consequences of
explained Mrs Toner. “Teachers felt that it was beneficial for their pupils to drug using, pupils are learning to think outside of their own experience
experience a new style of teaching. Pupils who would normally have a as well as appreciating the features of documentary film making.
high kinaesthetic score seemed to respond particularly well to the
project. It will not be clear until the pupils are properly tested whether In Learning Support, pupils will develop their literacy skills by
In its final year of Specialist School Status in the Digital, Visual and Performing this project was successful in helping pupils retain and understand understanding how to use apostrophes through the creative process
Arts, Ulidia Integrated College’s Specialist School team have been challenged mathematical information. What we can be sure of, however, is that the of 3D animation. This will increase self-esteem and confidence for pupils
with the task of trying to enhance learning in a wide range of subjects through pupils were engaged in learning whilst undertaking the project and that who will participate in creating a reusable teaching resource.
they enjoyed many positive experiences such as team work, problem
an experimental style of teaching. solving, organising and confidence in using digital media.” In Technology, film making will offer an opportunity for creativity while
pupils learn about identification and classification of levers. In Music,
The Specialist School Team were involved in a short Christmas project a silent movie making project will follow students developing a narrative
with the Music Department, creating a ‘paper cut’ animated version of then creating music to suggest mood and atmosphere to accompany
“The education system is becoming increasingly aware that each pupil In the second part of the project, pupils were given the story of the
‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’. Pupils enjoyed creating their own their narrative. In Geography a 2D Paper cut animation on ‘Settlements’
has a diverse range of responses to different styles of teaching,” said denial of Peter and asked to create a photo story interpretation of it.
characters and working out simple actions for the animation. The result is will encourage pupils to understand, retain and visualise events that lead
Mrs Jenny Simon, Specialist School Teacher. “Gone are the days when all Pupils were encouraged to think not only of the facts of the story and the
a very entertaining and creative piece of work of which the pupils are to changes in towns and cities.
subjects were taught in a purely verbal, repetitive style. We now realise words which were spoken but also the inner thoughts of Peter as he
very proud. It is intended that the short film will be used by the school in
that many pupils simply do not absorb information easily unless they are goes through a series of events which cause him huge turmoil.
the future. Of future projects Mrs Mercer said: “We have already begun to utilise the
taught in a way that suits their personal learning style”. Other aims of the project were to build on pupils’ confidence by
skills of our Sixth Form pupils in peer learning across the Visual and
organising teams and using digital media and increasing the students’
A short project took place in the Modern Languages Department Performing Arts Departments. Giving our students ownership of their
Mrs Jill Mercer, Specialist School Coordinator, added: “Ulidia has always self-esteem by producing worthwhile material which can be used
bringing together film making and French speaking. Pupils wrote their own learning really does result in their increased engagement in the
been proactive in making provision across the curriculum for all styles of effectively in the future to teach other pupils.
own role play scenarios focusing on the weather. They were then filmed learning process. Sixth Form students have taught alongside teachers in
learning. Learning styles are identified early on and these are tested
in front of a green-screen. Special effects were added afterwards to Visual and Performing Arts Departments, allowing younger students to
periodically to ensure students know how they learn best. The aim of the An SEN pupil from a Year 10 class who participated in the above lesson
create snow scenes, beach scenes and rainy weather scenes. The learn from them. Through this they have gained the opportunity to build
Specialist School Team this year is to support teachers in Ulidia to explore said: “I really enjoyed playing the role of Jesus in the Passover meal. I’ve
outcome was very entertaining whilst also conveying context for the use the confidence and interpersonal skills essential for the world of work.
new ways of active learning and teaching which will better match the always really enjoyed Religious Education and this gave it a more practical
of French language. The pupils certainly were motivated by the project
needs of all our learners - especially those pupils who prefer a kinaesthetic
or visual style of learning, as opposed to simply auditory. By actively
involving pupils in their own learning, including the learning of new
transferable skills in film making, drama, animation, photography and
approach. The fact that different subjects (RE, Drama, Moving Image Arts
and Media Studies) could be rolled into one production is amazing to be
part of. I was really interested and excited to begin the practical work,
although I had some difficulties remembering my lines. I have really
and were pushed to their limits in attempting to pronounce and
intonate correctly. The project has given pupils a broader experience of
film making whilst also helping them to learn to work together as a team
and organise themselves. The project raised pupils’ confidence and self-
esteem by producing an end product which they are very proud of.
“The understanding and retention of information and knowledge which
we as teachers strive to encourage has been evidenced by our
continued improvement in attainment at all Key Stages. We are
convinced that the enhanced engagement in learning, together with
increased motivation and participation, have benefited all our students,
particularly boys with low self-esteem and those less willing to learn.”
Teachers felt that it was beneficial for their pupils to experience a new style This term in Learning for Life and Work pupils will be making a “Drug
of teaching. Pupils who would normally have a high kinaesthetic score Awareness” documentary which will involve them researching, adopting Examples of work from these projects are all on our
different roles and performing. By encouraging pupils to consider the school website: www.ulidiacollege.com
seemed to respond particularly well to the project.”
computer based design, we believe that pupils will retain information and enjoyed myself throughout the lessons each week and this has given me
become more engaged and motivated by the process of learning.” further reason to thoroughly enjoy Religious Education. I would like to
thank all the teachers who made this subject so much more enjoyable.”
For example, the Specialist School Team has been working with the RE
department to explore new ways of teaching, incorporating Moving The Specialist School Team have been involved in a ground breaking and
Image Arts and digital media within the RE curriculum. Whilst the experimental Maths project. Using a fresh teaching approach, the
outcome of the project is a short film and a series of photo comic strips process of two and three dimensional animation has been used as a tool
focusing on The Passion of Jesus, the project was about much more than to teach symmetry.
just the end result.
Pupils planned and created short films for their peers showing the lines
Mrs Kathleen Toner, Specialist School Teacher, said: “Using the Last Supper of symmetry in a 2D shape using ‘paper cut’ animation. They also created
of Jesus and his disciples as a starting point for the RE film project, pupils a ‘claymation’ film showing the planes of symmetry of a 3D shape. The
were taken out of their natural environment and brought to the Drama purpose of the project was threefold: firstly that pupils would retain and
theatre where they sat around a reconstructed ‘Last Supper’ table. They understand the mathematical information for this unit of work, secondly,
were given roles and asked to engage not just physically but also that they would experience the process of animation and improve how
emotionally with their characters as they acted out the story. Other pupils they problem solve and work in a group, and finally develop their film
making up the production team were charged with the responsibility of making skills. The films produced will be used as a teaching tool for future
directing and organising their peers.” year groups.
twenty six twenty seven
Early years’ language programme ASE Science Conference
Report by Belmont Nursery School, Londonderry The Association for Science Education (ASE) Northern Ireland is holding • New Science Specifications from CCEA
its 2011 Conference on Friday 11th March 2011 from 9.15am until 3pm. • The sharing of good practice from other schools in STEM
The venue has recently been changed from the Northern Ireland related activities
Professionals working in the early years setting acknowledge the Within our overall language programme planning, our main
value of good language development in children and the huge emphasis is to integrate the core early years language skills to the Science Park to St Mary’s University College, Belfast. This has been to • Ideas on how to teach science through the World Around Us in the
educational and personal impact that will result if their language full class through carpet time and topic work throughout the secure a larger venue to accommodate the substantial number of primary classroom
is delayed or impoverished. year. This generally works well for those children with average-to- teachers wanting to register for the event. • Ideas on developing the use of the outside classroom
good listening and language skills who can cope with language • New vocational and applied science courses
All nursery schools at the beginning of term are involved in learning within a full class setting. The ASE committee has worked very hard to make sure that the • Ideas on how to teach better practical science
screening and identifying potential language problems and workshops at this conference are worthwhile, exciting and relevant to • Management training for technicians
referring on to the relevant professional agencies. Within Belmont Children with significant language difficulties and/or statements are your teaching. The purpose is to support you in forwarding the STEM
Nursery School we are very fortunate to have a teacher who is seen within a small group of no more than three, using children agenda in your schools. Everyone involved in STEM Education will be welcome to come along.
also qualified as a speech and language therapist, so early with good language skills as role models. For other children with For further details on the programme and last minute applications,
identification was easier for us to achieve within our setting. delayed or impoverished language or attention and listening
Teachers will have a choice of workshops during each of the sessions please visit the website at: http://www.ase.org.uk/ase-
Staff members have really benefitted from her knowledge and difficulties [these numbers are on the increase] small groups of
and these will include: regions/northern-ireland/events/2011/03/11/241/
observation of her language lessons - a fantastic role model for all between four and six are formed and the core language skills are
• The inspectorate talking about self evaluation in primary and post The ASE hopes to feature a selection of the good practice showcased
our school community. introduced at a simpler level and reinforced.
primary schools at this conference in the next edition of Linked.
Staffing levels will obviously affect what can be provided so we Parental involvement is a key element in any language
encourage the involvement of parent volunteers and students programme. We work closely with the Trust’s Speech and
within the class to enable our staff members to take the
Language Therapists and parents to ensure essential language
skills are reinforced, when feasible, within the nursery day.
International Conference on Thinking
This prestigious international conference (see back page) is being years education and to impact of media and ICT for developing
This year we have acquired the new ‘Welcome Language Our children and members of staff are really enjoying brought to Queen’s University Belfast by Professor Carol McGuinness thinking and learning.
Programme’. Its main benefit is that teachers and classroom participating in these language group activities and it’s a sign of
who helped to develop the framework for Thinking Skills and Personal
assistants can do their own screening and use the follow up success when we see the children hovering around eagerly
Capabilities for the Northern Ireland Curriculum. The programme will be an exciting mix of keynote and invited speakers,
language programmes. awaiting their turn in the language room!
symposia, papers, workshops and roundtable discussions. Conference
As a result, this event offers a particularly valuable opportunity for events are designed to be practical and relevant for teachers.
professional development in thinking skills and learning relevant to the
CCEA Workshops for Communication and Using Mathematics Northern Ireland Curriculum. Practitioners from schools, colleges and the education support services
in Northern Ireland will join forces with their peers from across the
In November 2010, a number of teachers of English and online supported forum to design assessment tasks. The feedback
One of the major themes of the conference is Education for Thinking - world to disseminate good practice.
Mathematics at Key Stage 3 were invited by CCEA to attend from these events has been very positive.
critical thinking, creative thinking, deep understanding and
workshops for designing tasks for assessing the cross curricular
skills of Communication and Using Mathematics. This was in If you require any further information about the new statutory thoughtfulness - across the curriculum. A very special local rate of £335 for Northern Ireland teachers for the
preparation for the introduction of the new statutory assessment assessment arrangements (2012/13) for Communication at Key whole five-day conference is now on offer until Friday 1st April 2011;
arrangements using the incoming Levels of Progression for Stage 3 please contact Vivienne Bannon (firstname.lastname@example.org) There is a strand on Thinking for Democracy which includes peace the one day rate is £130. Register now at
Communication and Using Mathematics from 2012/13 onwards. or Shauna McLaughlin (email@example.com) and for Using education, reconciliation and change, and issues relevant to Citizenship http://www.qub.ac.uk/icot2011
Mathematics at Key Stage 3 please contact Kathryn Gilbert education. There will also be symposia and workshops related to early
The attendance at the workshops held in Omagh, Belfast and (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Gavin Graham (email@example.com).
Antrim was excellent and teachers then worked together in an
Primary ICT Accreditation Scheme
The CCEA Primary ICT Accreditation Scheme is a voluntary Many teachers involved in the scheme have attended training
scheme which provides schools with a framework to develop, events provided by CCEA from October to February and 97% of
enhance and assess their pupils’ ICT skills at the end of each Key participants rated the support provided by CCEA officers and
Stage. Now in its second year, the scheme is going from strength moderators highly, with many praising their professionalism and
to strength. In 2009/10, almost 500 primary schools were efficiency of service.
accredited for assessing pupils’ competence in ICT and more
than 17,000 pupils received certificates. Almost 700 primary Support is also available for schools via the ICT Accreditation
schools are registered in the scheme this academic year. Scheme microsite at www.ccea.org.uk. The microsite has recently
been updated with a range of new resources developed to
Portfolios submitted to CCEA for moderation have captured support teachers and to showcase some of the great examples of
many examples of exciting ICT work where pupils have been pupil work. For further information or if you would like to
given opportunities to develop their skills across a wide range of showcase some of your pupils’ great ICT work, please contact
ICT experiences. Ciara Mahon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
twenty eight twenty nine
Welcome to the 15th International
Conference On Thinking which Developing
will be held in Northern Ireland at a Culture of
Queen’s University Belfast. Good Thinking
The conference will be held for ﬁve
days, from 20-24 June, 2011.
Register now at http://www.qub.ac.uk/sites/ICOT2011/
This is the 15th conference in a
A special rate for Northern Ireland teachers is on
series that stretches back to 1982. offer until Friday 1st April 2011
The conference will bring together leading thinkers, The major themes of the conference are:
researchers and practitioners to debate and discuss
the nature of high quality thinking – how it can be Education for Thinking:
cultivated and valued in education, in business, for for the school system and for higher education, critical thinking,
healthy living, for sport and leisure, for sustainability, creative thinking, deep understanding, thoughtfulness
and for working and living in a democratic and just
society. Thinking for Democracy:
The conference will be of interest to those working in
education, business, health sciences, the arts, sports,
government, and community development.
Thinking in Sport:
the mental and motivational side of sport, the ‘inner game’
The conference programme is shaping up to be varied
and exciting. Conﬁrmed speakers include: Thinking for Healthy Living:
intentions and actions, changing actions through thinking
Edward de Bono (Malta)
Diane Halpern (US) Thinking in Business:
creativity and innovation, entrepreneurial-type thinking, risk-taking
Gavriel Salomon (Israel)
Thinking and the Arts:
David Perkins (US)
design and creativity, composition, thinking and performance
Bob Swartz (US)
Art Costa (US)
Karin Morrison (Australia)
Conference Dinner -
Guy Claxton (UK) ‘Irish Themed Night and Supper’ – Wednesday 22 June 2011
Philip Adey (UK) Tour of Giants Causeway – Friday 24 June 2011
Lane Clark (Canada) Titanic Bus Tour – Thursday 23 June 2011
Aidan Moran (Ireland) Boat Trip on River Lagan – Wednesday 22 June 2011
For all Conference information please visit