Education Scotland Strategic Director joins Digital Schools Awards Scotland

Digital Schools Awards Scotland has expanded its team with the appointment of Alan Armstrong, former Strategic Director of Education Scotland, who will help guide and implement the ongoing strategy to promote digital innovation and learning in Scotland.

Armstrong, who retired from Education Scotland in April 2021 after a 40-year career across the Scottish education sectors, will take on the role of Programme Validator.

Digital Schools Awards Scotland was established in 2016 in partnership with Education Scotland, HP, Microsoft and Intel, to bring together government bodies and businesses to support the teaching of digital skills in schools. The highly successful initiative has seen more than 77% of secondary schools and 59% of primary schools across Scotland participate, and has recently expanded to include a stand-alone digital wellness initiative which aims to give young people the knowledge and confidence they need to navigate the digital world.

As one of the most experienced educational leaders in Scotland, Armstrong will bring extensive knowledge and wisdom to Digital Schools Awards Scotland, which is set to unveil some major developments, including the roll-out of the programme at a European level.

Armstrong is well placed to guide Digital Schools through this new chapter, having overseen a number of significant innovative programmes while at Education Scotland. During this time, he led Education Scotland’s support for the implementation of the national Digital Learning and Teaching Strategy, and played a key role in initiating and leading the National e-Learning Offer to provide access to high quality learning opportunities during school closures due to Covid-19.

In his new role as Digital Schools Validator, Armstrong’s focus will be on maximising the opportunities offered by digital technology in education, which will also support the implementation of Scotland’s national Digital Learning and Teaching Strategy. He will also work with educational leaders and practitioners to build their confidence and assist them to embed digital skills in their everyday learning, while also guiding them through the programme and advising on areas where progress can be made.

In addition, Armstrong will support the development and implementation of the Digital Schools Awards vision and strategy, helping to shape the programme in line with the inevitable evolutions in digital technology.

At the heart of his vision is a desire to encourage the progressive development of digital skills which will help young people, now and in their future lives and work.

Alan Armstrong said: “During my career, I have seen at first-hand how the advancements in technology have impacted in education and positively changed the way in which our children and young people learn.

“Digital learning in schools is an ever-evolving process, and it is vital that schools are given the support and tools needed to provide all our children and young people with skills they require for a modern world.

“Having watched closely the developments at Digital Schools Awards at national level over recent years, I have seen for myself the fantastic achievements they have made across Scottish schools.

“To date more than 1607 Scottish schools have participated in the programme with hundreds recognised for their commitment to digital excellence. I hope to build upon this success, and drive forward the programme, allowing our team to engage with, guide and support more young people across Scotland.

“I have always been passionate about promoting and extending learning beyond school, enabling practitioners, learners, parents and many others to connect, collaborate and improve learning experiences. My role with Digital Schools gives me the platform to drive forward this vision and I look forward to the challenge.”

Anna Doody, Programme Manager for Digital Schools Awards Scotland, said: “Alan has a wealth of experience in this sector and we are excited to welcome him on board.

“His knowledge and skillset are extremely valuable, and with his guidance and support we will be able to continue growing the programme and facilitating excellent practices in digital learning in schools – something which has never been so important.”

To find out more, schools are encouraged to visit www.digitalschoolsawards.com

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