Holy Cross Boys’ Primary School is a long established all-boys primary school situated in the Ardoyne area of Belfast.

The Ardoyne community is one of the most socio-economically deprived areas in the North of Ireland. The NISRA (2010) rates Ardoyne as amongst the top 5% of the overall most deprived areas in the state, particularly with regard to income deprivation, employment, health and working age qualifications of parents.

Mental health and suicide issues have featured prominently in the media in recent years, and statistics pertaining to crime illustrate a community severely under strain. Yet the academic, sporting and cultural successes achieved by the young pupils of Holy Cross Boys’ PS are clear evidence of the ambitious vision statement which characterises the actions of the entire school community.

In Holy Cross Boys’ we are dedicated to developing the potential of all of our pupils, and this is borne out in every facet of our school life. We pride ourselves in our unwaivering commitment to providing an educational experience which aims to equip our children with the character, qualities and skills to pursue their educational careers and fulfill their potential in whatever professional or academic field of work they ultimately decide to pursue.

Our mission, as educators, is to equip our pupils with the values and morals to enable them to utilise their talents and strengths throughout their lives to positively shape the future.

The Award submission video

Notes on the video from the learning guides

Overall it shows the pupils are getting a varied and diverse educational experience. Points that show there is a strong 3rd millennium learning experience being provided for the pupils include:

  • the Steve Jobs introduction is clever and creative
  • assuming roles to complete tasks, being responsible
  • peer learning, boys using tablets with one demonstrating how to turn on Apple TV
  • researching and presenting, giving feedback
  • Face time lessons in school and at home, for long term sick boy
  • integrated learning systems, building independent learning and using aural and visual approaches
  • using data to inform targets
  • using technology on field trips for danger assessment., then analysing the evidence
  • being creative with multiple apps, telling the story of Julius Ceasar
  • using visitors to make learning more relevant
  • peer tutoring in the after school scratch club
  • using tablets to record evidence and reflecting on good practice, with ipod videos
  • communicating online with discussion forums
  • using classroom performance systems and voting pads for afl
  • Kindle club, extending learning
  • recording learning and reinforcing learning
  • programming robots
  • creating animations with music
  • families learning together in the parent ipod classes
  • using a virttual coach for dance
  • pupils giving assemblies
  • working together in the pilot and navigator example
  • student voice, explaining how they use iPad to the rest of the school

Holy Cross produced a joyful promotional video backed up with a strong research-driven commentary video. There is so much evidence crammed into a short space of time that I had to give up trying to connect everything to the 3rd Millennium outcomes and resorted to ticking boxes instead.

I loved the ‘excuses left at the door’ ethos for Holy Cross school in their very challenging catchment, and how they describe using technology to empower pupils to achieve the outcomes with clear measures of their success.

The videos are all about the learning – it is obvious how technology empowers these pupils and this is a direct result of this school having clear vision of outcomes and robust planning for how to get there; the enthusiasm of the adults was very clear too. One to celebrate!

Technologies represented
Video, animation, IWB, Apple TV, iPads, Face Time/ video conferencing, PowerPoint, Integrated Learning System (ILS), Apps, data, programming (Scratch), floor robots, discussion forums, voting pads, analysing tool, Kindles, Easi Speak microphone, Tuff Cams, virtual coach, Pilot & Navigator, Smart technology.

Learning Examples
The school has strong evidence of most of the 3rd Millennium learning outcomes
Notably, technology is used to develop higher thinking skills such as analysis and synthesis, and outcomes such as recording evidence, collaboration, reflection, communication, creativity, enquiry-based learning, problem solving.

There is excellent use of video conferencing to support pupils and their parents when there is long-term absence and family learning. Community of learning aspect is well evidenced, with pupils publishing for a purpose, responding to audiences and feedback, clear awareness of good learning, peer assessment and tutoring.

Technology is used creatively and well to develop opportunities to reinforce learning. Pupils enjoy using visual and aural approaches and the diversity of resources. Data is well used and pupils are beginning to develop their own personal learning networks.