Digital Transformation  Dumfrie  Galloway

Councils Scoop National Digital Award

The Education teams of Dumfries and Galloway Council and East, North and South Ayrshire Councils won the Digital Transformation Award at the Municipal Journal (MJ) Awards on Friday last week with ‘SWConnects’, - the digital delivery of qualifications.

‘SWConnects’ delivers live on-line teaching for Advanced Highers and Highers to pupils in 40 secondary schools and across the four councils as part of the Regional Improvement Collaborative.

This win follows a Highly Commended award at the Local Government Chronicle Awards the previous week where the judges said ‘this project hugely impressed the panel with an approach which had a direct and measurable impact on students and at no incremental cost. They went on to say they 'would recommend any other Councils with similar challenges in delivering qualifications in rural areas to speak to the team and learn from what we had achieved through SWConnects.'

Before SWConnects, learners across south-west Scotland were given less choices of courses to study at Higher and Advanced Higher level, largely due to rurality and geography. It would not be feasible or achievable for someone in Largs to travel to Langholm to study Advanced Higher History for 3 hours per week. Thanks to this partnership though, this became not only reality, but the norm, and learners from across the south-west study virtually, in classes and courses run by teachers from across all four local authorities.

Executive Director of Education, Skills and Community Wellbeing for Dumfries and Galloway Council, Dr Gillian Brydson said on behalf of the Regional Improvement Collaborative: “We are delighted to have won this MJ award as it validates and recognises the quality of the work we have delivered so successfully. Winning an MJ Award acknowledges the tremendous effort of all the staff and learners within the four local authorities and shows what can be achieved if we are brave and work together.

"To be able to offer a broader range of qualifications to pupils in rural areas has meant they’ve had the chance to go on to study courses at colleges and universities that would not previously been possible. A sincere thank you to all the teachers, support staff and learners who have made it such a success. This model has proven that on-line delivery of learning towards qualifications works, and we look forward to expanding this approach with our colleagues across the Councils."