General Teaching Council Northern Ireland

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Microsoft Partners in Learning


MICROSOFT Partners in Learning Programmes and Activities.

This year has proven once again that when Northern Ireland Schools “tell their story” they are recognized as some of the most innovative schools in the world. Back in March, we launched this year’s application process for joining the Microsoft Partners in Learning Schools Programme. The Microsoft Partners in Learning Schools Program helps school leaders discover and share best practices to foster a culture of innovation. 

To be selected to the Pathfinder Program, schools must demonstrate scalable and repeatable models that can help other schools work toward their vision for transformation. Selection begins with a rigorous application process focused on educational leadership, learning vision, and the roles of students, educators, curriculum, and technology in their school community.
We have had significant success in the past and I was very confident that if schools from NI applied we could continue that success. We were proven right again. I’m extremely happy to announce that 

St. Pius X College in Magherafelt 
Has been selected as one of the 64 new Pathfinder Schools as announced by Microsoft Partners in Learning last week. On top of that, Northern Ireland has also had incredible success in the Mentor Schools Programme. From the Pathfinder Schools Community, a small number of Schools were invited to join an elite group of leading-edge schools from around the world. These schools must demonstrate a commitment to innovation and the ability to overcome obstacles in preparing their students to be 21st century learners, and must have developed programs that can serve as models for other schools. Participation in this program is by invitation, based on a record of broad educational success, community leadership and successful school management. Mentor Schools support Pathfinder Schools in mentorship teams over a twelve-month period.

This year only 17 schools from around the world were selected as Mentor Schools. I am very proud to say that
Ashfield Girls High School in Belfast 
Has been awarded this highly sought after status
Ashfield Girls HS was selected as a Pathfinder School in 2010. This selection as a Mentor School is a direct result of a continued focus on delivering innovation in the classroom and the commitment from staff to challenge themselves and their students to meet the needs of ensuring they have the skills to meet the 21st century agenda.
As if that wasn’t enough, only 18 schools from around the world were selected to be Mentor Schools for a 2nd year!! Not surprisingly
St. Mary’s College in Derry 
Has led the way and been chosen to continue in the programme!!
This award is a validation of the vision and leadership the Staff has shown over the past 12 months in the capacity of a Mentor school. Not every Mentor school is invited for the 2nd year. St Mary’s proved their impact both in the school but also in the wider community where they shared, mentored and learned from colleagues in education.


They will all be attending this year’s Worldwide Education Forum in November which is scheduled to take place in Prague so make sure to follow their journey on this site
Tom Jackson
Microsoft Education and Business Manager NI



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