Tracey Summer, who is Head of Computing at Watermill Special School, was awarded an Inspirational Educators Award at a ceremony hosted by The Worshipful Company of Educators and RM Education, which this year commended educators who were using ICT in innovative ways to support students.

Tracey who teaches at a school for students with special educational needs in Stoke on Trent. Was presented with her award at a ceremony in London for creating a successful ICT strategy which has resulted in the highest ever results in computing skills at her school.

Having joined Watermill as a newly qualified teacher, Tracey quickly demonstrated her potential in teaching computing, combined with an ability to relate to students with special educational needs.

She now teaches a wide range of students and through her innovative use of ICT in the classroom, Tracey has guided them towards attaining Level 1 Functional Skills in Computing, as well as implementing systems designed to develop students’ skills, character and personal attributes.

“One of the things we have always focused on at Watermill is preparing our students, each of whom have complex needs, for their life beyond school, and ensuring they leave the classroom with the skills and confidence needed for their future careers,” explains Tracey.

“Crucial to their development is feeling that that their efforts are valued and worthwhile, and our use of ICT is helping us ensure this is the case. Students are now able to leave and attending mainstream computing courses as a post-16 option, which was previously unheard of, and provides them with positive life-chances.”

Tracey’s vision, direction and drive has transformed the school’s use of ICT, bringing in the most up-to-date hardware, programmes, apps and communication aids, so that students with no speech or mobility can now communicate through a simple push-button switch device.

“The change in the classroom has been tremendous,” says Tracey. “Our students are now highly engaged in their lessons, learning lots and having fun. It’s wonderful to see the difference ICT is making to their skills and confidence, and to see their appetite for learning grow.”

Watermill has recently joined up with the five other Special Schools and Hospital Schools in the Stoke area to form a Co-operative Trust to share good practice, and Tracey will play a key role in the future ICT developments across the Trust.

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