It’s six of the best for a top Vale of Clwyd independent school which has just landed another glittering accolade from tech giant Microsoft.
Myddelton College in Denbigh is the only school in North Wales to be recognised as a Showcase School by the world’s leading software company.
It’s an honour the school has been awarded for six years running since it was founded in 2016 and it highlights their success in continuing to run a full programme of lessons remotely throughout the pandemic lockdowns.
Deputy Headmaster Ian Lloyd, who teaches Maths and Computer Science, is a huge fan of the Microsoft Teams and One Note technology that even enables pupils from around the world – including Welsh speakers – follow lectures.
He said: “It really is a fantastic tool for teaching and because all apps and resources are saved in one place it means that there is no need for lots of different books and equipment to be brought to lessons – or for homework excuses.
“It also means that when our students leave Myddelton College they are fully equipped for the worlds of work and academia.
“It is something we embraced from the start, using the programme from the day the school opened because it provided us with a unique method of delivering lessons.
“It came into its own during the lockdown when our students, from the Vale of Clwyd to Mexico and China, were able to enjoy lessons together – we didn’t miss a lesson, the high standards didn’t drop and that’s been recognised by Microsoft.
“We’re part of Microsoft’s global community of schools which provides fantastic opportunities for working with schools around the world – and with a simultaneous translation service there is no language barrier.”
Myddelton College is one of only four schools in Wales to receive the Microsoft accolade and the Teams system, part of the Office 365 suite, is the cornerstone of their teaching.
They also use an educational version of the popular gaming system Minecraft which allows students to make use of a virtual laboratory which Ian Lloyd said: “Enables students to carry out some advanced chemistry with volatile substances without blowing up the school.”
Sixth form student Oscar Davies, 17, from Holywell, who hopes to study bio-engineering at university, said: “The system has helped a lot. It’s much easier to take notes and to access your work.
“Everything is in one place so it is quite an upgrade on traditional ways of working.”
Geography teacher Natasha Williams, from Ruabon, said: “We can take the students on virtual field trips to explore the world from their classroom or in lockdown without leaving home and make use of different technologies like Flipgrid, Quizlet, Minecraft and embedded videos and apps.
“It really gives them a head start to be able to use these systems from an early age so that by the time they reach GCSE, A-level and beyond they are so familiar with them.”
Sixth Form student Libby Argent, 17, from Rhyl, who is studying Biology, Business Studies and Politics, said: “It just makes it easier having everything in one place on your PC with no files and folders to carry to school.
“The on-line lessons were just as if you were in the classroom which was so important during the lockdown.”
History, Politics and Business Studies teacher Bethan Tout, from Llangollen, said: “We just wouldn’t have been able to teach during the lockdown without the Microsoft technology.
“We wouldn’t Have been able to maintain our standards and the school’s incredibly successful exam results are down to that.
“The technology means that students don’t have to remember their books for lessons and they can’t forget their homework because it’s all online while it’s also easier to access further reading around subjects.”
Microsoft Vice-President Anthony Salcito said: “Microsoft showcase schools are truly transforming learning and providing more personalised education to students, empowering them to achieve more.”
“We are so proud of what you have achieved over the past year, particularly in these trying times. Your resilience, creativity and innovation continue to inspire students and empower them to achieve more.”
Mr Lloyd added: “The translation facility on Teams is such that we could have a young boarder from China whose English is poor but you can still have a conversation with them.
“You can also have someone from Spain talking to someone from India with an English or Welsh speaker joining in the conversation as well.
“Transcripts of each conversation are also available in the individual languages to help them to improve their English reading, writing, listening and pronunciation.”
Information about Myddelton College’s advanced use of Microsoft systems for teaching will also be available at their Sixth Form Information Evening on Wednesday, September 22.
This is open to anyone considering joining the Myddelton College Sixth Form in September 2022. They should contact Mrs Carly Gilmour, Admissions Manager, on 01745 472204 or [email protected]
Myddelton College, a co-educational day and boarding school, was the UK’s newest independent school when it opened in the autumn of 2016 and is the only school in North Wales with a 5G network.
The Estyn Report issued in 2019 praised the way the school celebrates its diversity, said that pupils’ behaviour was “exemplary” and was also impressed by the high level of support and guidance provided by the “committed staff”.
Andrew Allman added: “We have some great support here for the pupils and the foundations have been set here very successfully and now I’m coming in with independent experience to take it to the next level.
“I want it to be a calm, kind, happy school where pupils have mutual respect and can thrive and reach their goals.
“We have a very in-depth induction process where from their arrival pupils from overseas are ‘buddied’ with domestic pupils and share all the aspects of school life in a way that benefits both.
“The inclusivity of the school was praised in the Estyn Report and it is a very happy place.”
The school currently has 75 boarders and 200 day pupils with 70 staff, including nearly 40 teachers, and Mr Allman added: “The school has integrated into the local community very well and people here are delighted is it open again and contributing to the local community.
“We encourage local organisations to make use of our facilities here and the list of those that do includes dance groups, a boxing club and the Scouts.”
For more information on Myddelton College go to www.myddeltoncollege.com