Belfast Telegraph

Monday 1 September 2014

Innovative ICT teacher is in a class of his own

A Holywood teacher has scooped a top prize at the UK Teaching Awards.

David Stinson, of Sullivan Upper School, was among 12 |winners at the national awards which were broadcast on BBC2 on Sunday from the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. The award for Outstanding School Team of the Year went to the LILAC Team at Fleming Fulton School on the Upper Malone Road.

David Stinson and the LILAC team each received a gold plato at the end of the process which began with more than 9,000 nominations.

Mr Stinson won the Becta Award for Next Generation Learning for his innovative work |pioneering a system of e-portfolios for his pupils, which allows them to work with a variety of media, store their work and share it with classmates.

He sees ICT as a means of enabling students to become creative, resilient and resourceful learners — and wealth creators of the future. At least one student on the autistic spectrum has benefited hugely from the e-portfolios using sound files and video clips.

Regional judges who watched David at work said: “In our years of judging the Teaching Awards this is the first time we have encountered a teacher who is so at ease with using ICT as a tool in the education of his pupils.”

Since his arrival at Sullivan Upper School in early 2008 ICT has grown as a subject, with improved facilities, a bigger take-up by students and improved grades. Half of all entries are now from girls, when previously only two females sat GCSE or A-level ICT.

One parent told the judges that her son no longer came home “to find some food, watch TV or play on the XBox, but to do his own investigation with online technology tools”.

The LILAC team — Linked Independent Living and Advice Centre — based at Fleming Fulton School, is unique in Northern Ireland and perhaps in the UK.

Described as a ‘rapid response’ team, it was conceived five years ago as an outreach team and has been running for the past three years, funded by the Big Lottery.

The team is an inter-disciplinary group of seven professional experts and works with more than 80 mainstream schools across Northern Ireland ensuring that the disabled pupils who have chosen to attend those schools have all their needs met.

LILAC has supported more than 120 pupils in over 80 schools, including children with physical disabilities and conditions such as muscular dystrophy.

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