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Reimagined Classrooms

 

Inaugural CREDIT awards

 

Pictured at the event: Dr Anne Heaslett (Principal of Stranmillis University College), David McMillan (Castleroe Primary School, Coleraine), Martin Hagan (St Mary’s University College), Sonia McGowan (Ravenscroft Nursery School, Belfast), Sir Bob Salisbury (leading educationalist), Danny Kinahan (NI Assembly Education Committee Deputy Chair), Dr Adrian Johnston (Chair of the International Fund for Ireland), Gemma O’Neill (Christ the Redeemer Primary School, Belfast), Professor Peter Finn (Principal of St Mary’s University College) and Dr Patricia Eaton (CREDIT Project Director).

 

The impressive work of fifty teachers who participated in the highly acclaimed “Classrooms Reimagined: Education in Diversity and Inclusion for Teachers” (CREDIT) project was celebrated at a special awards event on 27th February 2013.

The inaugural CREDIT awards event took place at Stranmillis University College and was organised jointly with St Mary’s University College.

Supported by the International Fund for Ireland, CREDIT provides professional development courses to help teachers develop skills and confidence in dealing with issues of division, diversity and community cohesion. To date, 160 teachers have completed the CREDIT courses.

The impressive list of dignitaries who gathered to congratulate teachers and pupils on their success included Fund Chairman Dr Adrian Johnston, leading educationalist Sir Bob Salisbury and NI Assembly Education Committee Deputy Chair Danny Kinahan.

The event also welcomed principals, staff and governors from local participating schools and both university colleges. Also invited were facilitators, community relations groups, ETI, IFI and some of its other funded projects and representatives from the NI Assembly Committee for Education. The Ministerial Advisory Group on Advancing Shared Education, the US Consulate, church groups and DENI rounded out the list.

 

REFLECTIONS

Many respected and distinguished speakers joined the event to reflect and share their views on CREDIT.

Dr Anne Heaslett, Principal of Stranmillis University College, opened the event speaking about the need to change the hearts and minds of people and the challenges of encouraging this change.

Professor Peter Finn, Principal of St Mary’s University College, highlighted the importance of investing in the skills development of teachers for the well-being of the economy.

The CREDIT Project Director, Dr Patricia Eaton, emphasised the need to focus on skilled practitioners and the power of transformation created by providing teachers with the time and space to embed good practice. The participating teachers also were commended for their hard work and efforts in reconciliation work.

The audience also were addressed by the Chair of the International Fund for Ireland, Dr Adrian Johnston. Dr Johnston commended the CREDIT project for its commitment and forward thinking, which has encouraged teachers to access the CREDIT toolkit to help pupils gain a deeper learning experience and further advance cohesion in society.

Leading educationalist Sir Bob Salisbury reflected on the importance of providing skills to teachers and the mixing of education and community as a powerful way of moving forward.

Also addressing the audience was Danny Kinahan, Deputy Chair, NI Assembly Committee for Education. He also focused on the value of hardworking and dedicated professionals and commented that CREDIT was vital to create a climate where children can explore difference and enhance life skills.

 

SPECIAL HIGHLIGHT

Special highlights for the day were the personal journeys and experiences brought to life by CREDIT teachers David McMillan from Castleroe Primary School, Coleraine; Sonia McGowan from Ravenscroft Nursery School, Belfast; and Gemma O’Neill from Christ the Redeemer Primary School, Belfast, who was also joined by three of her pupils.

Cross and Passion College, Ballycastle, and Aithne Kerrigan, Community Relations Equality and Diversity (CRED) coordinator at Ashfield Boys’ High School, Belfast, took top honours in the schools and teachers categories respectively for innovative efforts to promote reconciliation and positively change attitudes.

As a result of the high quality of applications for the annual prizes, commendations for the school prize were awarded to St Anne’s Primary School, Strabane; St Mary’s High School, Downpatrick; and Castleroe Primary School, Coleraine. An additional teacher commendation was awarded to Fiona McDonald from Drumnamoe Nursery School in Lurgan.

Several participating schools also decorated the room with their displays and stands to exhibit proudly to delegates some of their excellent work in their classrooms and beyond, which they explained was inspired by CREDIT.

 

APPLICATIONS

Applications are currently open for the five-day Extending Skills in CREDIT course taking place on 16th and 17th April, 2nd and 3rd May and 31st May 2013. Please visit www.stran.ac.uk/credit for further details or contact Claire Martin, the Project Administrative Officer, at credit@stran.ac.uk (email) or telephone 028 9038 4530.

 

Dr Patricia Eaton, CREDIT Project Director, speaking at the inaugural CREDIT awards event

 

Dr Patricia Eaton, CREDIT Project Director, speaking at the event.