Erasmus + 2022/2023

CSSC Erasmus study visit to Croatia March 2023

Controlled school leaders recently visited Croatia to learn about the development of whole-school strategies towards digitalisation and STEAM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics)

Croatia recently implemented a Digital Transformation Strategy and the school leaders observed how this is being implemented, its impact and how teachers are supported to effect change in their schools.

CSSC provides high quality professional support enabling controlled school leaders to raise standards and make an impact in their schools. Two international study visits were supported by CSSC in 2022 and 2023, with funding provided through the Erasmus+ programme.

A previous study visit to Finland and Estonia, supported 21 controlled school senior leaders, representing primary, post primary and special schools across 15 controlled schools to review effective teaching practices. Below two Principals who participated in the November 2022 visit shared how the programme benefited their controlled school.

Kirk Patterson, Principal, Larne and Inver Primary School said,

“Larne and Inver Primary School is a controlled school, we are open to all faiths and none and are reflective of the community we serve.”

“My learning from the educational visit to Finland was the local teacher’s phrase ‘we are trusted, we are free’ which resonated with me. On the basis of that phrase, I have transformed the planning in our school to extend more freedom to teachers. Whilst still teaching the Northern Ireland curriculum, teachers have the opportunity to create their own planners and evaluations. Teachers share their learning with the whole school making an impact on the school’s development plan. The visit confirmed for me that Northern Ireland has an incredible education system, which is unfortunately drastically underfunded which curtails further opportunities.”

Paula Stuart, Principal, Belfast Model Schools for Girls added,

“The International study visit affirmed and confirmed our own practices and precipitated fresh thinking. The impact for Belfast Model for Girls was the reinvention of social spaces for pupils in and around the school, with new furniture to make the space comfortable and welcoming to encourage pupils to join together and to enhance wellbeing and promote pupil voice.”

“As a school we also empowered the teachers with trust, extending more freedom which led to teachers participating in the strategic thinking alongside the senior leadership team.”

“Belfast Model School for Girls is a controlled school which is open to all faiths and none and is embedded in the local community. The school shared the learning from the visit in replicating  an opportunity practiced in Finland and presented a unique learning experience for Year 14 pupil, Madison Armstrong who become a ‘Teacher for the day’. Madison embodied the role of the teacher perfectly both in her attire for the school day and in planning the class work for Year 10 and 11 ICT and Business Studies pupils. This helped prepare Madison for her upcoming interview relating to the teaching training degree course at Stranmillis University College.”

The study visit has resulted in enhanced knowledge of the Finnish and Estonian education systems, greater confidence and capacity to operate at an international level and increased capacity to lead and support improvements in controlled schools.


10 March 2023

Ricky Massey, Principal, Integrated College, Glengormley

Ricky Massey, Principal, Integrated College, Glengormley, shares with CSSC the opportunities and impact of Erasmus programme. 

CSSC international study visit to Croatia - March 2023 (primary schools)

CSSC international study visit to Croatia- March 2023 (post primary schools)