Shropshire college joins elite worldwide group of schools with Microsoft recognition

A Shropshire college has joined an elite global group of schools that exemplify the best of teaching and learning in the world today.

Concord College
Concord College

Acton Burnell-based Concord College has been named a Microsoft Showcase School for 2021/22 – an accolade achieved by only a few hundred schools around the world.

Benefits include "worldwide collaboration with like-minded school leaders and education innovators to further transform learning".

According to the official Microsoft Education Blog, in 2020 there were only 325 education institutes from 58 countries who were granted Microsoft Showcase status.

The schools are dedicated to providing improved teaching methods for staff and improved learning outcomes for students, having the necessary technology in place to effectively manage transitions, such as to remote or hybrid learning scenarios.

In an email to the Shropshire college, Microsoft’s worldwide education vice president Anthony Salcito and senior education industry manager Dina Ghobashy said: “Microsoft has recognised your institution as a showcase school, an elite group of schools that exemplify the best of teaching and learning in the world today.

“Your school can take pride in knowing that Microsoft recognises your impact on the future of education – Microsoft Showcase Schools are pioneers in education.”

A Microsoft Showcase School is committed to school-wide digital transformation, specifically using Microsoft’s Education Transformation Framework – and the technology that it entails – to drive a culture of learning, innovation and continuous improvement.

The schools are dedicated to providing improved teaching methods for staff and improved learning outcomes for students, having the necessary technology in place to effectively manage transitions, such as to remote or hybrid learning scenarios.

The announcement follows Concord’s previous success in attaining Microsoft Incubator School status last academic year.

Their application was based on ‘A Catalyst for Change’ – specifically the establishment of Concord’s £11m state-of-the-art science block which would ultimately put the college at the forefront of science facilities in schools across the UK.

And as a consequence, alongside the changes brought about by the pandemic, inspired the college to explore the exciting world of EdTech.

Since gaining Incubator status, Concord’s head of chemistry and one of the college’s founding IT teaching and learning leads Dr Richard Beard said: “We have improved on previous successes through the rapid innovation and creativity that was utilised to maintain teaching in-person and online throughout the pandemic.

“Many processes are in place, all of which have resulted in massive expansion of EdTech throughout the staff and student community.”

In the same period 46 per cent of the teaching staff at the college have become Microsoft innovative educators and four percent of teaching staff are MIE experts.

As a Showcase School, Microsoft will be supporting Concord in its quest to inspire lifelong learning, stimulating development of essential future-ready skills so students are empowered to achieve more.

Alongside Dr Beard, Concord’s head of physics and IT teaching and learning, Dr Lee Garland, was also instrumental in Concord’s recent developments and application to become a Showcase School.

Reflecting on the latest accolade, he said: “Becoming a Showcase School is a wonderful recognition of the hard work, ingenuity and innovation of teachers, students and staff at Concord.

“The rollout of educational technology has been successful because of the collaborative approach that has been adopted and we will continue to use it to prepare our students for the 21st century.

“We are excited and look forward to the opportunity to collaborate, learn and share best practice with staff and students at Concord – and other establishments around the world – that being a Showcase School will now enable.”

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