School inspire judges in competition

A Blyth school has picked up a national award for a project described as both ‘inspiring and uplifting’ by the judging panel.

The Dales School has won a prestigious eTwinning National Award for ‘Effective communication with children who have special needs’.

It was up against 70 other school applications and won in the ‘Inclusive and Diverse eTwinning’ category, and was highly praised by judges representing The European Commission and the British Council UK.

The judges said: “This is an outstanding project, meticulously planned and executed, with the best interests of the students, teachers and other professionals involved in the education at the heart of the planning.

“I would love to see this project disseminated as best practice amongst other professionals, it is both inspiring and uplifting to witness such dedication of staff.”

Hugh Steele, head teacher of the Dales School, was instrumental in the success.

He said: “The project has been a tremendous opportunity for staff to develop their knowledge and skills whilst engaging the children in improved communication using new technology with their peers from other countries.

“Over the last six years, the Dales School has worked with many schools, in many countries to develop the quality of teaching for children who have special needs. These have included schools in: Southern Ireland; Slovakia; Germany; France; Austria; Turkey, and Denmark. This week, as a spin off to the project, a group of German children have been visiting our school.”

eTwinning is part of the EU’s Comenius programme, which aims to develop knowledge and understanding of different European cultures and languages and help young people gain skills for their futures lives and careers.

The awards celebrate those schools that have produced outstanding work in eTwinning over the academic year and are funded by the European Commission and managed by the British Council in the UK. eTwinning is an online community for schools in Europe, enabling schools in 33 countries to link with each other. There are more than 106,000 schools registered in the scheme, more than 9,900 of them from the UK.