St Mary’s Primary School is situated in the village of Newtownbutler, Co Fermanagh. The school welcomes newcomer children and almost all of the 156 children come from the local and surrounding rural area. The enrolment has increased steadily over the past five years. 41% of the children are entitled to free school meals (FSM). There are 23% of the children identified as having special educational needs. The school has consistently performed above average in Key Stage 2 English and Maths Assessment during recent years and the education inspectorate have observed that ‘the hard-working and approachable teaching and support staff … co-operate effectively in the lessons to sustain the children’s thinking and understanding and as a result enhance the quality of their learning, progress and development. The school prides itself in working closely with parents in order to provide the best possible education for all of the pupils.
The Award submission video
Notes on video
There is a clear vision of how ICT can extend learning, across the whole-school, and pupils are empowered to use online systems for this. The strong focus on e-safety is freeing pupils to use the Internet. Tasks are given online, pupils create and edit online, going back to work to revise and improve it. Real-world tasks are being used to stimulate writing, such as Newsdesk, creating cards and a project with the local newspaper.
Enquiry-based learning is happening with pupils discovering for themselves and collaborative are being used, including cross-year work with yr6 working with yr3 pupils. And horizons are being extended by introducing video conferencing at an early age – how better than to conference with Santa!
The unsupervised computer clubs say a lot about the personal responsibility pupils are taking for their work, with the teachers developing techniques such as the ‘Hotseat reading’ and writing of recommendations to drive engagement with reading. Reading is also incentivised at home through home computers with ebooks. Pupils appear well aware of their targets and are taking on the challenges, which is the kind of attitude change that drives much greater energy in learning.
ICT is embedded in numerous ways, for example the voiceovers to digital story-telling and various activities we see in the video. There is obviously more that could be shown. Of particular note is the integration of special needs pupils into lessons using technology to enable this.