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Showcasing Our Re-imagined Classrooms

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), Dr Patricia Eaton (CREDIT Project Director).

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

27th February 2013

The impressive work of 50 teachers who participated in the highly acclaimed Classrooms Reimagined: Education in Diversity and Inclusion for Teachers (CREDIT) project were 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 successes 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, both Colleges, 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, US Consulate, Church groups and DENI.

Many respected and distinguished speakers joined the event to reflect upon 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 such a process.  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 in providing teachers with the time and space to embed good practice. The participating teachers were also commended for all their hard work and efforts in their reconciliation work.  The audience were also addressed by the Chair of the International Fund for Ireland, Dr Adrian Johnston. Dr Johnston commended the CREDIT project for their commitment and forward thinking that has helped teachers to access the 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 skilling 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.

A special highlight on the day was 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) co-ordinator 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 dressed the room with their displays and stands to proudly exhibit to delegates some of their excellent work which they explained was inspired by CREDIT in their classrooms and beyond.

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 Clare Martin, the Project Administrative Officer at credit@stran.ac.uk (email) or telephone 028 9038 4530.

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