Today (4 May) Microsoft announces that three Microsoft Showcase Schools have been included in the government’s Demonstrator School initiative designed to help other schools adopt technology.

Highlighted as leaders in adopting technology in teaching, Broadclyst Community Primary School, Ribblesdale High School, and Danesfield School will join a consortium of schools, sharing advice on how to use technology to help reduce teacher workload, create efficiencies, improve accessibility and expand teaching and learning.  

Three Microsoft Showcase Schools have been included in the Government’s initiative to help teachers deliver lessons via the internet to pupils at home.

Broadclyst Community Primary School, in Devon; Ribblesdale High School, in Lancashire; and Danesfield School, in Buckinghamshire; have been named “Demonstrator Schools” and will join a consortium of schools from across England that are considered leaders in the use of technology in education.

Microsoft Showcase Schools embrace technology to create personalised, immersive and inclusive experiences for children, transforming education and improving learning outcomes.

The trio will hold regular, free webinars and offer guidance and coaching to help other schools and colleges make best use of technology and provide remote learning for pupils while they are at home during the pandemic.

Broadclyst held its first webinar, entitled “setting up a virtual school from scratch”, on April 30.

Jonathan Bishop, Chief Executive of The Cornerstone Academy Trust, which Broadclyst is a part of, said: “We are delighted that Broadclyst will be using its extensive knowledge and experience to help schools build their own digital strategies and select their learning platforms. We will be supporting governors and trustees, advising on the procurement and set-up of digital devices, as well as providing training for teachers on the use of edtech in their teaching, keeping children safe online, giving the best support to children with Special Education Needs and offering advice on wider curriculum opportunities.”

Ribblesdale has a long history of using technology to help its 1,300 pupils. It has partnered with Microsoft as a Training Academy for the past three years and uses Microsoft Teams as its main delivery platform for teaching, staff meetings and training, recruitment and support. Every pupil in years 7 to 10 has a laptop that’s managed by the school’s IT department.

It is the only school in the Government’s consortium that is based in the north west of England.

Stephen Cox, Headteacher of Ribblesdale, said: “We are thrilled that our collective expertise and experience is being harnessed by this programme to support a wide range of schools. The current situation has forced all schools to be highly dependent upon remote learning, adjusting to a very new way of working. We look forward to supporting colleagues in other institutions, aiding their students to experience the very best teaching, learning and wider support which can be afforded by remote learning .”

Reception children at Danesfield school perform These are the Hands, by Michael Rosen

Danesfield has been a Microsoft Showcase School since 2016, using tools including Office 365, Teams, OneNote, Minecraft: Education Edition and Flipgrid to increase pupil engagement and learning. It plans to offer a step-by-step guide to help schools develop their own technology strategy and use digital tools to support learning and reduce workloads.

Sarah Morgan, Headteacher at Danesfield, said: “The Danesfield team are hugely excited about the opportunity to work with schools across the country at this challenging time and in the future, building their use of technology to enhance the creativity and learning opportunities for children. Technology is embedded at the core of our teaching, and we have witnessed the significant benefits it brings in helping children develop a love of learning.”

Danesfield will hold its first webinar on May 4.

Office 365 Education will be a key part of helping teachers to securely send content to students and communicate with them. Most children in the UK have been at home since the Government announced measures to tackle the pandemic on March 23, with only key workers’ children going to  school. The Department for Education has moved to help teachers continue to teach their pupils during school closures by working with technology companies, including Microsoft, to set schools up on cloud-based systems to support remote education.

Schools can request support from a Microsoft accredited partner by completing the form here.

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