Hastings and St Leonards Academy Trust
Two innovative new schools with twenty-first century facilities, skilled staff and an exciting new way of teaching.
Everyday over two thousand students and teachers from the Trust use iPad to enhance teaching and learning.
The Inspiration for iPad
“The Hastings and St Leonard’s academies are two sponsored academies which opened in September 2011, and within two years of opening they achieved good Ofsted ratings in 2013”, explains Teresa Phillips Principal at Hastings.
“We particularly wanted to improve independent learning by the students and give the teachers tools that they could use to engage, motivate and offer experiences that the students wouldn’t have otherwise.”
The academies had a bold vision where they wanted to put mobile learning at the heart of everything they did.
“Our decision to choose iPad was based upon feedback between students and teachers. We set them the task to find out which was best for them in the classroom and at home”, Says Steve Warburton, Director of ICT at Hastings & St Leonard’s Academy Trust.
Hastings & St Leonard’s catchments have some areas of significant areas of socio-economic deprivation and over 50% of their students are now or have been in the receipt of free school
meals. So affordability was key, they wanted to bridge the education attainment gap so no child was left behind. Albion’s 1:1 program was launched to give students and their families the opportunity to subscribe to an iPad over the course of two years.
Working closely with the academies Albion created a bespoke leasing and parental contribution scheme that “mitigated up to 85% of the cost”, according to Steve Warburton. This allowed the trust to focus their effort into providing a robust wireless network to support anytime, anywhere learning.
“Originally we were concerned that perhaps it might be a bit costly, but paying monthly its worked out absolutely fine for us. And obviously with the children able to own the iPad at the end they look after it more” says Juliette Urban, a Hastings Academy parent. Teresa Phillips says “Over 85% of the students families have opted in so students have their own device and those that have not opted in are able to use iPads from four iPad banks around the school”.
“We worked with many different companies that supply Apple products, but when it came to integration they didn’t seem to understand our need for it. But working with Albion they helped us develop a system that allowed us to share files between Apple Mac, PC & iPad”, according to Mark Baker, ICT Manager at the trust.
Foldr on the iPad allows students and teachers to open files stored in their school user area, work on those files and then save them back to their user area on the network. Wherever your iPad is, at school or home, you have access to your files and documents.
“The student response has been really good. They are always so keen to use them, that’s the first question I get asked when I start the lesson. They love it. It doesn’t matter what we are doing if it can be on the iPad they are always so much more engaged in it”, says Caroline Tasker, a teacher at St Leonard’s Academy.
Caroline has also seen how this increased enthusiasm for learning is having a positive influence on creativity, resourcefulness and behaviour. She says that “The main benefits for the students are having the iPads in front of them so they can be creative in whatever they do. By having the internet at their finger tips it means they are more engaged in their learning. And that means their behaviour is generally really good”.
The success of the 1:1 scheme is also in part due to the involvement of parents. Juliette Urban, a parent at the academy says she feels the scheme is “absolutely fantastic and I think a lot of other schools are looking into this, were really lucky that our children have been privileged with the iPad 1:1 scheme and hopefully it will benefit a lot more children”.
Looking to the future Teresa Phillips is bouyant. She says, “There is an enormous sense of excitement, hope and transformational experiences for the students and the staff”.
Teresa goes on to say that by “providing the children with this opportunity it has really raised their sense of self esteem, achievement and their opportunities for the future. We are providing a generation of well skilled, well qualified youngsters, we are really changing lives”.