Willowbank School in Kilmarnock has won a prestigious Digital Schools Award – a national awards programme which promotes, recognises and encourage a ‘whole school’ approach to the use of digital technology in primary and secondary schools.
It’s the first time a special school in East Ayrshire has won the award, accredited by Education Scotland and supported by industry partners HP, Microsoft and Intel in Scotland.
To gain Digital School status, each school is assessed in five categories:
The assessor visiting Willowbank said: “The assistive technology in the school building is exceptional and the small numbers of pupils allows them to provide learning technology at all times during lessons.
“The leadership team and IT coordinator have an exceptionally well developed digital vision for the learners and staff and driven by the difference technology makes for their learners, this school had a high level of effective use of a large number of learning and assistive solutions.
The sensory development through use of technology was amazing. The learner engagement level was surprisingly high and technology in every lesson was very effectively used. The school extends beyond the normal primary curriculum.”
Head Teacher Tracy Smallwood added: “We’re all proud to have received this important award and I’m especially pleased that all the hard work and dedication of our staff to creative a fantastic digital environment for our pupils has been recognised.
Her comments were echoed by Councillor Fiona Campbell, Cabinet Member for Skills and Learning who added: “Willowbank is a fantastic school, offering a truly bespoke education for pupils with special or additional needs.
“We’ve embraced the use of digital technology to deliver a high quality education and I’m delighted this has been rightly recognised by the assessor.
“I know that things do not stand still in Willowbank for long and I look forward to learning more about how they are pushing the digital boundaries for pupils, parents and staff in the future.”
The assessment for Willowbank concluded: “This was the strongest digital school culture I have experienced.
“Technology is making a huge impact on learning in this school, led and run by some wonderfully dedicated staff. It was an enlightening visit that will remain with me.”