Wednesday February 26, 2020

Schools celebrated for entrepreneurial spirit

Some 94 primary and second-level schools from around the country were celebrated at the inaugural The Entrepreneurial School Awards (TESA) Summit hosted by Microsoft

20th October, 2019
Teachers Sharon Connolly and Aisling Collins, from Gort Community School, the overall winners of the TESA School of the Year – Microsoft Award, with Helen Raftery, chief executive JAI, and Joanne Morrissey, HR Director at Microsoft Ireland, at the summit

Some 94 primary and second-level schools from around the country were celebrated at the inaugural The Entrepreneurial School Awards (TESA) Summit hosted by Microsoft.

The summit was an ideal opportunity to celebrate the work of educators across Ireland in developing entrepreneurial skills in students and to share best practice in a unique and inspiring venue.

Gort Community School, a second-level school in Co Galway, was the overall winner at Junior Achievement Ireland’s (JAI) first ever TESA Summit. The school beat off tough competition from 93 other schools who provide entrepreneurship education to pupils.

Commenting on their win, Sharon Connelly, assistant principal at Gort Community School, said the achievement was a mark of the level of their commitment to entrepreneurial education in their classrooms.

“Well done to all our fabulous, innovative, creative and dedicated students and teachers who work so well together,” she said. “Together we create not just an excellent academic environment, but by sharing opportunities and experiences, we develop valuable lifelong skills. Today was made possible through the hard work and commitment of entrepreneurial students in Gort Community School, with support from so many dedicated parents and the local community.”

Participating schools were self-assessed against TESA criteria and competed a submission with the aim to establish themselves as an entrepreneurial school. Each school that matched the criteria was publicly recognised for its work in entrepreneurship education and all TESA-certified schools participated in the annual summit enabling educators and innovators to exchange best practice.

As winner of the TESA School of the Year – Microsoft Award, Gort Community School will receive a prize to the value of €5,000 to further support its work in entrepreneurship education. Nominees of the school travelled to Helsinki to represent Ireland at the Entrepreneurial Schools European Conference last week.

The other category award winners, based on enrolment size at primary level, included: Darley National School, Cavan; Our Lady of Consolation School, Dublin 5; and St Ursula’s Primary School, Waterford. Mercy College Sligo was awarded the top prize for its size at second-level.

The summit hosted a range of masterclasses, including a Design Thinking Sprint led by Jonathan Levie and his team from NUI Galway, as well a Digital Transformation workshop and a workshop on Ed Tech for 21st-Century Educators, both led by the Microsoft Education Team. These events will continue at all future annual summits with the aim to encourage innovation and support the continuous professional development of those providing opportunities for entrepreneurship education in our schools.

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