General Teaching Council Northern Ireland

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E-Learning UK Post Primary School of the Year 2010


St Mary's, Limavady 

St Mary's - home access winner 2010
Congratulations to St Mary's - Home access winners

The staff and students of St. Mary’s were delighted to find out that the school has been named the E-Learning UK Post Primary School of the Year. The E Learning Foundation announced in early October that the St. Mary’s had been short listed as one of the finalists – the only school in
Northern Ireland to have done so. Obviously a great accolade for the school and the local community, it highlights the continued work in the area of E- Learning.

At St. Mary’s they are well aware that Technology is part of our daily lives and how we work, learn and communicate with each other, and this can be clearly seen with the facilities that the school continues to develop. 

Yet over 1 million schoolchildren in the UK are still living on the edge of our digital society with home access to a computer and the Internet a seemingly inaccessible dream.

The e-Learning Foundation aims to reduce the effect of this “Digital Divide” by working with schools, parents and other stakeholders to ensure that all children have access to learning technologies when and where they need them, both at home and at school.

Launched as a registered charity in 2001, their aim is to bridge the digital divide by significantly increasing access to ICT for education, and specifically to ensure that every child in the UK, irrespective of background, should have access to technology for learning especially at home, working in partnership with schools, parents and businesses.

St. Mary’s has embraced the fact that, as society and technology continues to develop the school must move with it to ensure that every pupil that enters St. Mary’s doors receives a relevant and quality education. In doing this the school has taken a number of steps including:


  -        Feeder primary schools participate in our Linking Learning project which enables us to gain first hand knowledge and understanding of student ICT capabilities and experiences prior to arrival.

  -         Auditing all Year 8’s students about their home access to computing facilities and internet access.  All staff are made aware of class home access statistics so that learning and teaching strategies can be tailored appropriately for all classes.

   -         ICT facilities are made available outside of school hours to ensure every student can overcome limitations of the digital divide.

   -         In order to continue the development of parental ICT skills and to proactively address the digital divide, all parents have access throughout the year to:

                    -         ICT evening classes through the Extended Schools provision
        -         Microsoft Accreditation (the school is an accredited Microsoft Assessment Centre)
-         Annually parents and students are consulted through our School Council about ICT provision and our
            home access provision.  
-         Annually all subject areas review e-learning provision.  
        Subject areas make use of the school Virtual Learning Environment as an integrated approach to learning.

          Building upon our Home Access work, we have developed the use of ICT to support communication between staff and parents in order to support the schools pastoral systems:

-         Communication using Microsoft Communicator

-         Text messaging to parents using Text2Parents software

-         Reporting to parents using Assessment Manger software

-         Under attendance is tackled using Lesson Monitor software


To ensure that the digital divide does not disadvantage any of their pupils and guarantees that their pupils are ready to face the challenges of the future.

Sandra Hutchings, from the E learning Foundation said that “As a complete whole school strategy for how to embed the use of ICT across the whole curriculum, engage parents, ensure that people don’t fall through the gaps and smooth over the digital divide this is an exceptional application from St. Mary’s Limavady. A strong feature was the degree of professional development in the qualifications amongst the staff was and the development of parental skills was seen as critical in the extension of children’s learning which contributed to the seamless delivery of the curriculum”

Principal Mrs McKenna commented that, “the award is a source of great celebration in the school and it highlights our determination to provide an exciting and relevant platform for developing ICT provision within the school”


The award recognises that pupils in St. Mary’s are not at a disadvantage in this digital age and It is fitting that after celebrating fifty years of providing a quality education for the young people of the Roe Valley area in 2009, and as they begin their fifty first year, St. Mary’s is rewarded for ensuring that their pupils will be at a clear advantage in the digital era of 2010 and beyond.



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