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Become a
Digital CLD organisation


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Once signed in, the organisation is assigned a validator who is an experienced practitioner with a strong interest and background in digital technologies for learning.

Organisations can proceed with the self-review process without the need for discussion with the validator. However, contact can be made if there are queries or if support is needed.

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Organisations, teams and services participating in the pilot prepare a self-evaluation. The Awards self-review framework comprises six Key Areas with Considerations for each that act as criteria. The organisation can start to review the six Key areas and Considerations, examples of evidence and support links and resources at any time after registration.

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Collecting evidence

The organisation, team or service is ready to apply for the Digital Schools Award when it has undergone a self-evaluation and submitted supporting documentation and evidence of practice

The six Key Areas and the related Considerations for each are worded to allow organisations to review their own practice and determine the extent to which practice matches the Award requirements.

A useful checklist is provided to help identify and collect your evidence. This checklist sets out possible sources of evidence organisations could submit, along with support references, examples of good practice and policy links.

The selection of evidence should highlight how the organisation can demonstrate the extent to which it fulfils the award requirements. So, select evidence that reflects the work you carry out, providing evidence across all six Key Areas to initiate a validation.

Within each Key Area, provide evidence that exemplifies the Considerations that are relevant to the organisation’s work. (Not every Consideration may be relevant to every organisation applying.)

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Need help?

When an organisation, team or service registers for the Digital CLD Awards, it is assigned a Validator.

The Validator will also act as the Critical Friend, if the organisation requires it. For example, although organisations may proceed with their self-evaluation without the need for discussion with the Validator, contact can be made with the Validator for queries or if support is needed. The Validator can then act as the Critical Friend, pointing out where more information may be needed in one of the Key Areas or against one of the Considerations, and where support may be available.

This important part of the Awards programme provides supports and resources to help organisations, teams or services to plan and action their developments rewarding their positive and digital journey as they build towards being ready for validation.

Supporting references to relevant national and local policy initiatives are provided as a useful guide to support development and planning.

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This diagram summarises the process of applying for and completing the award.

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Achieve Award

An independent expert or ‘validator’ is assigned to review the organisation, team or service’s submission and supporting evidence online. If everything is in order, a validation visit will be scheduled. The validator will give the organisation guidance in preparation for the visit.

A validation can be online or face-to-face and will typically include:

  • Initial discussion with digital leader and senior staff to review online evidence
  • Discussions with staff and learners (where possible) to hear about examples of how digital technologies are helping to improve engagement with learners and stakeholders, and improve learning opportunities and/or community involvement in democratic processes.
  • Plenary discussion around initial findings and any issues raised from the validation.

Following the validation visit (which may be online), the Validator recommends one of three outcomes.

  • An ‘Award’ - for organisations/teams/services where digital technologies have already been adopted and embedded in practice and where the breadth and depth of deployment is evident from the evidence.
  • An ‘Award with Targets’ - where organisations/ teams/services do not yet fully meet the award criteria but, through discussion and agreement with the Validator, use the criteria statements to set targets for digital development. The organisation/team/service updates the Validator at an agreed point.
  • ‘Award not yet achieved’ – where evidence is not sufficient and organisations/teams/services may well recognise that there is still further development work to do. The Validator can suggest some areas for development before applying for a further validation visit. The Validator may invite the organisation to liaise with other, similar organisations where practice is more established

A key objective of the Digital CLD Awards is to help best-practice sharing across CLD organisations, teams and services and to grow the community of digitally innovative CLD practitioners. To facilitate this aim, those that successfully achieve an award are invited to become a Mentor Digital CLD organisation, team or service.

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