First Scottish nurseries recognised for their development of children’s digital learning

Olivia Rook
Tuesday, September 17, 2019

The six nurseries joined 70 secondary and primary schools at an awards event at St Mungo’s High School in Falkirk.

Rolling out this initiative to nurseries demonstrates the growing importance for young people to develop digital skills.
Rolling out this initiative to nurseries demonstrates the growing importance for young people to develop digital skills.

A group of nurseries in Scotland have become the first to be awarded digital schools status.

The pioneering initiative, which operates across Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and has awarded 638 schools this status, aims to develop children’s digital learning in the classroom.

The six pre-schools that achieved this status were officially recognised for their work in digital learning in the largest ever Digital Schools Awards, with 70 secondary and primary schools joining them for the event at St Mungo’s High School in Falkirk.  

To achieve the prestigious accreditation, schools are required to assess their developments in digital technology in areas such as Leadership and Vision, Digital Technology for Learning and Teaching, School Culture, Professional Development, and Resources and Infrastructure.

The awarded nursery schools provide children with access to the latest hi-tech equipment, including green screens and stop-motion animation technology. Independent learning is encouraged using SMART boards and tablets, and classes are designed to teach pupils about online safety.

Rolling out this initiative to nurseries demonstrates the growing importance for young people to develop digital skills.

More than half of Scottish schools have signed up to the awards, which have been developed in partnership with HP and Microsoft.

Awards were also presented to the first 10 Scottish schools to complete the Cyber Resilience and Internet Safety (CR-IS) Badge, which was launched in February this year to educate pupils on how to remain safe online.

Kate Forbes, Digital Economy Minister, said: ‘The Scottish Government recognises the knowledge, skills and attributes that children and young people need to acquire to thrive in our interconnected, digital and rapidly changing world.

‘The Digital Schools Awards are a great way to encourage schools to develop new and innovative ways in which to achieve that aim, as well as to recognise excellence.’

Steven Pavia (pictured above), a representative for HP, said: ‘Combining digital technology with the world-class fundamental learning applied at Scottish schools is crucial for the next generation to thrive in our ever changing cyber-physical world.

‘The Digital Schools Awards is a great example of education, industry and government working together to prepare the next generation. To achieve the accreditation is a fantastic achievement, and I would like to congratulate each school on their success”

Stephen Phee, head teacher at St Mungo’s High School, added: ‘We are delighted to be recognised as a Digital School. It is a testament to the hard work of our teaching staff, who have been instrumental to developing and implementing our digital learning strategies. 

‘As teachers, we have long understood the importance of embedding digital skills within the curriculum. The Digital Schools Awards provided us with the framework and support needed to bring technology into the classroom in an effective and responsible manner.’

Concerns about screen-time
While there is a push to equip children with digital skills, many parents and early years practitioners have expressed concerns about young children and their exposure to screens.

A survey by daynurseries.co.uk found that 72 per cent of respondents reported children having fewer imaginary friends compared to five years ago, and cited screen-time as major factor in hampering children’s creativity.

A study of 300 families by Kiddi Caru Day Nurseries Group in June revealed that 93 per cent of respondents with children aged two-to-five-years-old believe their children spend too long using electronic devices.

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