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Belvoirdale Primary School was looking for a way to engage and excite pupils with imaginative ways of learning. Aware that 75% of families did not have access to the Internet at home, the school was concerned pupils would be at a disadvantage when moving up to secondary school. The school was keen to encourage pupils to become more independent and creative as well as ensuring that every pupil had access to online learning tools and technology.
The school purchased iPad mini, alongside device management and security solutions from Apple specialist, KRCS who also provided advice, installation, support and training. iPad is now being used throughout the school, giving every pupil the opportunity to develop their potential through creative learning and technology.
The school have embraced the technology with enthusiasm and as a result, pupil engagement has improved. They are able to learn independently and make their own choices, encouraging creative thinking and ownership of the tasks given by the teacher. A recent OFSTED Report cited a “buzz of learning” throughout the Belvoirdale Primary School, which the school believes is as a direct result of the new technology being introduced.
When head teacher Anne Bufton-McCoy took up her post at Belvoirdale Primary School in January 2012, OFSTED had placed the school in special measures. It also had a bad reputation around the local area, as Anne had discovered when she posed as a grandmother looking for a school place for her granddaughter.
Undeterred and once in her new role, Anne set out to change all that. OFSTED reported that the children were “not making enough progress” so changes to learning in the classroom had to be made.
After some research, it was clear that Apple solutions were best suited to the school’s needs so Anne contacted KRCS, her local ‘Apple Solutions Expert in Education’.
“It was clear Apple led the field in education technology and offered a great selection of educational and non-educational Apps,” said Anne. “Plus, with only a part-time ICT technician employed at the school, we needed technology that would link the devices to a central management system to ensure easy, and sometimes remote, syncing and updating.”
Gina Buxton, Anne’s PA, said: “The project went out to tender but we chose KRCS because we had complete confidence in them. I knew I was dealing with a valued and trusted Apple partner who would work with us to find the best solution to the school’s vision of improving learning. Glyn, Tom and technician Chris Goulbourne from KRCS, knew exactly what they were doing and answered every single question I threw at them. The support was, and still is, there whenever I need it.”
Change can often meet with resistance and, indeed, some teachers were sceptical as to the benefits of teaching with the new iPad mini. However, they were given the devices to take home and ‘play with’ over the Summer holidays. “They came back full of enthusiasm and with some great suggestions for Apps to help enhance learning,” said Anne.
Working with KRCS
Glyn delivered an iPad inspiration session and staff responded really well. A hands-on Apple Professional Development (APD) session was also tailored to the specific needs of the school and helped empower teachers to confidently use Apple products to transform teaching and learning.
Deputy Head, Kelly Robbins, has been excited by the progress of the children. “There is so much more engagement in the classroom. Using the iPad mini in lessons is breeding a love of learning through a whole different dimension,” she said. “Plus, whereas before, the children had to sit at a desk with a laptop, they are now free to move around the room and can even move outside to make the most of our “Forest School” outdoor classroom.
Such has been the success of the Apple integration, the school invested in a further 30 iPad mini plus Apple TV in April 2014. Twelve screens, one in each classroom, have been installed to facilitate teaching. Rachel added: “Having Apple TV is great for teachers. Instead of standing at the front of the classroom and using a whiteboard, having our own iPad and Apple TV means we are free to move around the whole class and interact much more with individual pupils.”
“The marked progress really fits in well with OFSTED’s vision of ‘Independence and Rapid & Sustained Progress’,” said Anne. “My next goal is to provide every teacher with an iPad to enable them to assess pupils more easily in the classroom. This will enable teachers to keep an eye on each pupil’s progress and identify and address any gaps in their learning.”