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St Joseph’s PS Carryduff Wins Digital Schools of Distinction Award


Mrs Knowles (ICT Co-ordinator) with P7 pupils from St Joseph’s who were presented with Digital Schools of Distinction Award.

‘Digital Schools of Distinction’, a flagship awards programme which promotes, recognises and encourages best practice use of technology in primary schools has presented St Joseph’s PS with the prestigious award of Digital School of Distinction.

We are the first school in Northern Ireland to receive this award which was presented to Mr Donnelly on Wednesday 11th November. On accepting the award Mr Donnelly paid tribute to the great work done by Mrs Knowles (ICT Co-ordinator) and all the Staff in developing the skills and expertise of our pupils in using ICT.

Supported by HP Inc., Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Microsoft, the Digital Schools of Distinction Award has been developed to help schools to further integrate technology into the classroom.
The initiative aims to recognise best in class practices and build on the progress already made, by providing a pathway and resources for schools who are seeking to do more with technology.  The programme also recognises those who achieve excellence and supports the efforts of schools and teachers in making the best use of technology in the learning environment.

HP Inc., Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Microsoft are providing support to the programme for five years, to include a financial commitment of £100,000 in the first year as well as the provision of practical support and resources. 

Minister for Education John O’Dowd emphasized the added value Digital Schools of Distinction status offers to primary schools, “The Department of Education is already committed to supporting schools by investing in their digital future through C2k. Our aim is to ensure our schools are equipping children with the most up to date ICT knowledge and skills and this programme supports that objective.   I am delighted to welcome the support of HP Inc., Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Microsoft in bringing us the Digital Schools of Distinction programme and I would urge schools to participate.”

Supporting the Digital Schools of Distinction programme Martin Murphy Managing Director of Hewlett Packard Enterprise Northern Ireland, highlighted the role of schools in equipping young people with the necessary skills to be ‘job ready’ in the future.

“Getting education and skills right is core to investment and job creation. While Northern Ireland already performs well in terms of integrating technology into the curriculum, there is still room for improvement and an opportunity for Northern Ireland to differentiate itself in this area. We are delighted to be able to support the Digital Schools of Distinction initiative which enables schools to harness the full potential of technology for education purposes.”

Tom Jackson, Education Business and Programme Manager, Microsoft Northern Ireland said, “The world of technology continues to develop at an extraordinarily fast pace and it’s essential that young people develop the right skills and talents needed for the world we live and work in. We’re pleased to partner with HP in rolling out Digital Schools of Distinction to help support and develop work already in progress in schools.” 

Speaking at the launch, Principal Dominic Donnelly of St Joseph’s, Carryduff, the first primary school in Northern Ireland to be awarded Digital School of Distinction status, welcomed the award and praised the commitment of staff in embracing opportunities to implement digital learning and the enthusiasm of pupils across all age groups to discover and learn using the latest technology;
“Pupils, staff, governors and parents of St Joseph’s, Carryduff are delighted to receive this prestigious award in recognition of the quality of the school’s provision for ICT.  In St Joseph’s we place great emphasis on developing the children’s ability to use ICT judiciously and effectively. 

“The children learn how to use technology to handle, interpret and communicate information, to solve problems, pose questions and to be creative.  In essence, our vision is to ensure that the children have the confidence and abilities they will require to be successful in a rapidly evolving technological world.  Receiving this award is a wonderful affirmation of that important aspect of our work.”


Click here to view Digital Schools of Distinction presentation to St Joseph's.


Click below to hear Radio Ulster's report from St Joseph's at the launch of Digital Schools of Distinction.