Scottish school one of 17 in world chosen to ‘transform education from the ground up’

A Scottish school has been chosen to join a new Microsoft education programme designed to “create the best learning environments in the world”. Bertha Park High School, in Perth, is one of 17 schools included internationally on the first Microsoft Flagship School list.

Bertha Park is currently being built and is expected to open in August next year, creating around 200 jobs. It will be the first secondary school to be constructed in Perth and Kinross since 1972. As part of the programme, teachers will collaborate with peers in other countries, including the US, Argentina, Germany, Australia, and China, and share best practice.

Chris Rothwell, director of Microsoft education UK, said: “I’m really proud to see a UK school included in the inaugural group of Flagships Schools. I am sure that their experience will encourage other educational institutions to consider accelerating their digital transformation journey and perhaps nominating to become a Flagship School.

“I’m delighted that Microsoft will be working with Bertha Park High School to make the very best of how technology can help pupils learn and help staff teach and run the school effectively. I look forward to seeing more UK schools becoming a part of this group in the future and sharing their experience around the world.”

Anthony Salcito, vice-president of education at Microsoft, added in a blog post: “It’s time to get our hands in the ground, get dirty and transform education from the ground up – whether a school is breaking ground or opening its doors for the first time. The Microsoft Flagship School Programme partners with like-minded leaders from around the world across a multi-year engagement to design, develop, and deliver amazing new places to learn.

“It’s not about the bells and whistles or how pretty the building is – it’s about making the best schools we can, often amid challenging budgets, geographical constraints and limited access to technology. It’s about collaborating with the talented people on the team, establishing (and living by) a strong shared mission and showcasing the outcome-based effect that technology can have on learning, when used appropriately.”

Join is for FutureScot’s EduTech Scotland Conference, 14 November.

Microsoft will use what is has learnt from its global network of Showcase Schools to help develop Bertha Park’s teaching environment in line with its Education Transformation Framework. Built on decades of research, best practice from schools across the world, and focused on modern teaching methods, the blueprint will help Microsoft create “spaces that are purposeful and accessible and, most importantly, safe, to shape and inspire the future leaders of the world”.

Microsoft will be partnering with architecture firm Gensler, furniture maker Steelcase, Education Changemakers, education planners Fielding Nair International and consultants Getting Smart.

“While change is constant, our goal is to ensure that the mindset, structure and heart of our Flagship Schools remain core to our values,” Salcito added. “We want to imagine what’s possible and build it, not just for one school but for others who can look to our blueprint and learn from it.

Microsoft has already put the Framework into action with Wilburton Elementary, in Bellevue, Washington, which opened its doors earlier this month.

Dr Ivan Duran, Bellevue School district superintendent, said: “The state-of-the-art campus reflects the district’s commitment to creating innovative approaches for equitable and inclusive learning, enabled by Microsoft technology. Working in partnership with Microsoft Education, we’ve created a learning environment that will give students the skills and opportunities they need to be affirmed and inspired as creators of their future world.”

The 17 schools on the Microsoft Flagship School list are:

  1. University of Central Florida – Florida, USA
  2. Asten College – Cairo, Egypt
  3. St Catherine’s British School – Athens, Greece
  4. Colegio Tomas Alva Edison – Mendoza, Argentina
  5. Sri KDU International School – Klang, Malaysia
  6. Inner City North State Secondary College – Queensland, Australia
  7. Bertha Park High School – Perth, Scotland
  8. Monio High School, Tuusula – Finland
  9. IB Campus, HdWM – Mannheim, Germany
  10. Chicureo Pioneers’ Academy – Colina, Región Metropolitana, Chile
  11. Smart Learning School – Cairo, Egypt
  12. Baocheng 39th District Nine-years School – Baoan District, Shenzhen, China
  13. Whyalla Secondary School – Department for Education, South Australia
  14. NMS Graz – St. Leonhard – Graz, Austria
  15. Ministry for Education and Employment – Malta
  16. AQARAT – Dubai, UAE
  17. Renton Prep – Washington, USA