COLÁISTE Bríde in Enniscorthy has become one of the first schools in Europe to be recognised under the new European Digital Schools Award initiative.
The latest accolade comes in the wake of the school being first secondary school in the country to receive the Digital Schools Award in 2020.
A spokesperson for Coláiste Bríde commented: “We proceeded to apply to the Digital Schools Awards European Pilot Programme for their European award.”
The pilot programme is an UE initiative aimed at promoting and recognising the use of digital technology to deliver the best educational experience for students in secondary schools across Europe.
The project was overseen by the school’s digital learning coordinator, Muireann Nagle, over the last year.
The application process involved completing a self-assessment of the school’s development in digital technology, with staff and students.
The spokesperson said the school was then asked to share examples and evidence of best digital practice under the following seven areas: Leadership; Collaboration and Networking; Infrastructure and Equipment; CPD; Teaching and Learning; Assessment and Student Digital Competence.
“We are delighted to say we met the criteria on all seven areas,” said the spokesperson.
"This was largely due to the hard work of our team of digital leaders, as well as many other teachers who offered examples of evidence of good digital classroom practice for use in the application,” she added.
Following a validation visit from an independent expert on January 11, to review the school’s submission, the award was granted.
“A huge thank you to all involved and especially all our staff and students as it is due to the fantastic progress being made across the school in embracing digital technology that enabled us to receive the award,” said Deputy Principal, Rose McConville.
Launched last year, the Digital Schools Awards European pilot programme encourages and recognises innovation, collaboration and skills development in digital technology among schools across Europe.
The initiative is backed by the European Commission’s Erasmus+ programme, national Government bodies, education agencies and leading technology companies, led by HP.
Over 90 secondary schools are participating in the initiative which is being piloted in five European countries: Ireland, Lithuania, Scotland, Serbia and Slovenia.
The programme is the first of its kind to be available across the continent. With support from the European Commission schools assess their digital learning and teaching practices and identify areas where improvements can be made.
Schools taking part are given access to expert support and resources to help them develop their digital curriculum and ensure pupils are given the skills they need to navigate the modern world.
To achieve European Digital Schools status, Coláiste Bríde had to demonstrate strong leadership in digital education and provide sufficient access to resources and infrastructure.
"Our school culture, professional development strategies and teaching practices were also assessed as part of the submission,” said Ms McConville.
"Coláiste Bríde is being recognised at a time when Europe is facing a major digital skills shortage,” she added.
The European Commission’s Digital Economy and Society Index 2020 found a that ‘large part of the EU population’ do not have basic digital skills required for modern jobs and concluded that digital skills need to be strengthened across the school curriculum.