A Dungannon ICT teacher has won an award for her dedicated and innovative work in helping pupils develop the digital skills they need for the future.
Catriona Houston, head of the ICT department at St Patrick’s College, is one of 102 Pearson National Teaching Silver Award winners, having been selected from thousands of nominees across the UK.
Mrs Houston received the award in the Digital Innovator of the Year category for outstanding commitment to changing the lives of the children she works with every day.
She has now been shortlisted to win one of 15 Gold Awards later in the year, in a programme which will be broadcast on the BBC.
Mrs Houston led the school to securing a Cyber First Silver Award, one of only two schools in Northern Ireland to achieve this status.
Her First Tech Robotics Team have recently represented Northern Ireland in the UK finals, and her student digital ambassadors were selected to speak to UK Members of Parliament on internet safety.
Principal Catherine McHugh said she was “very proud” of Mrs Houston and delighted to celebrate her “great and deserved success”.
“Mrs Houston is innovative and forward planning. She has established a network of links to ICT companies and organisations to enable skill based learning opportunities and work experiences, both in person and virtual for our pupils,” said Mrs McHugh.
“Mrs Houston is focused on ensuring quality outcomes for pupils and a curriculum which is aimed at enabling them to build their ICT skills in the areas necessary to contribute fully as a member of the future workforce within the fourth industrial skills revolution.”
Mrs Houston was presented with her award by Bill Connors, chief executive of educational charity Sentinus, at a special tea party held in school, celebrating the work she has led and also the ongoing work of all the teachers in the school.
The Silver Award winners are being honoured as part of the wider celebrations for Thank a Teacher Day, a national campaign to honour and recognise school staff.
The celebrations follow new data which shows how last year’s lockdowns have significantly changed how families view the role of teachers, with teachers making care visits to vulnerable families, coming up with innovative ways of remote teaching and keeping their pupils settled by regularly checking in with them.