The National Academy for Educational Leadership Wales contributes to the development of the professional capabilities of current and aspiring leaders across the education system in Wales.
Our Innovation Grant can be accessed through the Innovation Pathway and is also encouraged among those who attended the Innovation Series. The 2022 Innovation Series explored ‘Digital Innovation’ and participants submitted project ideas to improve digital opportunities within their schools.
We spoke with Olwen Corben, Headteacher at Ysgol Glanrafon, who heard about the Innovation Grant through reading our newsletter, Cyswllt, and discovered the benefits of developing and progressing educational leadership through our Innovation Pathway.
Year after year, more digital innovations are made in a number of industries that could be utilised by educators and learners alike. Ysgol Glanrafon saw our Innovation Grant as an opportunity to address some areas of the school where digital innovation could be added. Olwen explains: “From our observations, we could see that a clear focus was needed for the development of digital innovation within the school. Some staff are more confident than others when it comes to new technology and it is difficult to set time aside to teach both teachers and learners.
We could see that learners from nursery to Year 2 confidently used the occasional programme and that more technology was used between Years 3 and 6. Our plan for the Innovation Grant was to order new digital equipment to develop the use of technology within lessons and provide teachers with the training and confidence they need to use these new technologies within the curriculum.”
After receiving the Innovation Grant, the first steps were to organise activities with the help of the school’s coordinator. Olwen reflects how this was a very exciting experience, both for staff and learners as the funding allowed the school to purchase Chromebooks and provided the resource to allow staff to be trained by Aspire2Be in this new area. The project did encounter some challenges, which is to be expected as with any project. Olwen elaborates: “We found keeping to the pre-planned timetable for the project difficult due to the nature of everyday life in a school. This also meant that ensuring time for staff to plan and develop their technology skills was challenging. However, we are continuing to carry out the project and so far, it has already improved the learners’ learning experiences.”
Ysgol Glanrafon’s digital innovation journey is ongoing. The school has started to see how digital innovation can benefit pupil learning, and so as the project continues, these benefits and positive outcomes will only further improve and develop. Olwen continues: “Although the project is not yet finished, we are continuing to use the funding to bring innovative technologies into our classrooms. We hope in the future to hold class information and communication technology (ICT) competitions to ensure further learner engagement and excitement for digital innovation.”
Part of our Innovation Pathway is looking towards the future, and it is easy to see how schools across Wales can be inspired by the digital innovation fostered by Ysgol Glanrafon. The school plans to share the results of their project with other schools and hopes that this will lead to collaboration between the schools too. Although this particular project will eventually come to an end, the school plans to continue their digital innovation journey through planning seasonal challenges involving their new equipment and technology as well as continuing and completing the Aspire2B course.
Over the years, we have supported many schools in Wales on their innovation journey, Olwen explains: “The funding was very easy to apply for and encourages others to begin their digital innovation journey; it turned out to be a successful way of positively promoting our curriculum.”