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issue thirteen


									issue thirteen
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
      Page 6
                                                                                                                                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.                       
      Page 12
      Northern Ireland’s first Forest School - a pioneering primary in north Belfast brings its
      outdoor classroom to life                                                                                                 New educational television channel offers
      Page 14
      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 is to produce short programmes featuring
      Page 26
                                                                                                                                                                                                            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, 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                      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

     As always, we welcome your comments, correspondence and contributions. Please feel free to contact us at                     Competition winners 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 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.
     ‘PMB News’.

                                                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                                                            school improvement.
      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
                                                                                                                                                          and Numeracy.
      ETI’s recommendations was the need for “a differentiated approach to     School Improvement initiatives.

two                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        three
  School Development
                                                                                                                                                                 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
                                                                                                                                                                     own priorities.

                                                                                                                                                                 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
                                                                                                                                                                    development plan.

                                                                                                                                                                 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
                                                                                                                                                                 Schools (CCMS).

                                                                                                                                                                       Further Information
                                                                                                                                                                       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
                                                                                                                                                                       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.

four                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  five
        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.

six                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  seven
  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.

    Data Management
                                                                                                                                                          ‘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 
                                                                                                                                                          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.

eight                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              nine
      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

ten                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              eleven
                                                                                                                                                                  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…’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
    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

twelve                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           thirteen
    Sharing Education
   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

fourteen                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   fifteen
   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 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.”

sixteen                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          seventeen
                                                                                  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.”

eighteen                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  nineteen
                                                                                  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.”
                                                                                  their children.
     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.

     Video Conferencing
                                                                                                                                                              technology to reach a wider range of pupils and teachers.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Training and support is currently being rolled out by C2k.
                                                                                                                                                              Working Together
                                                                                                                                                              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
                                                                                Ireland education.
     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
                                           Online Support
                                             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 ( 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
                                                                                 Lecturer in Education (
   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:
                   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:
      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 groups.
                                                                             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 (            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 ( and for Using            education, reconciliation and change, and issues relevant to Citizenship
                                                                             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             ( or Gavin Graham (
      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 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

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
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,
                                                              peace education
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)
                                                              Social Programme
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

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