Three NI schools nominated for film awards

A FILM made by students from Belfast School to celebrate 40 years of inclusive education in Northern Ireland has been shortlisted for an award.

Created by sixth graders at Cranmore IPS, the mini-documentary was nominated in the 11 and under category for the Into Film Awards.

The event, organized by education charity Into Film, celebrates the filmmaking talents of young people across the UK and the work of the educators who inspire them.

Written and performed by Cranmore pupils, who also designed the sets and performed part of the soundtrack, the film examines the changes in Northern Ireland over the past four decades and examines what makes a good integrated school.

Professor Andrew Duggan said: “We are delighted to be nominated for such a prestigious award.

“Cinema and filmmaking have become an important part of literacy in Cranmore and are enjoyed by all.

“It turned out to be a great way to get all the kids involved.”

It is one of three nominations from Northern Ireland for this year’s awards, which also includes Michele McAlonan of Cliftonville IPS in North Belfast. She was shortlisted in the ‘Teacher of the Year’ category for her use of film to inspire children and improve literacy.

Ms. McAlonan has led school development projects around film and filmmaking, started the school’s film club, and is an ambassador for media literacy as a tool for curriculum development.

“Using film in the classroom as an innovative teaching and learning tool has changed the way I, and more recently my colleagues, plan and deliver lessons to students from P1 to P7,” she said. .

“Students are excited and motivated by the use of cinema and cinema-related activities.

“The student feedback, observations and discussions that take place during film-led sessions show that as a school we have made the right decision in prioritizing the use of film as invaluable aid to teaching and learning.”

Beechlawn Special School was also nominated in the Into Film Club of the Year category.

The school runs the film club for pupils with special educational needs (SEN), some of whom have difficulty communicating effectively.

It allows students to choose movies, have open discussions about characters and write reviews and has helped improve their engagement and develop friendships.

During the periods of confinement caused by the Covid-19, the club operated virtually, which helped to alleviate the feeling of isolation for the students.

Club manager Catherine McBride said: “This club is so important to our students and our school because it provides a safe place where our young people can relax, chat and watch films.”

The three nominees will take part in a star-studded ceremony in London next month where film stars will present prizes to the winners.