Surbiton High School

Surbiton is an independent school, catering for boys aged 4-11 and girls from 4-18.

Surbiton High School has always been an extraordinary community for learning
and in 2014 they embraced iPad to further enhance their teaching and learning environment.

Surbiton High School

The Vision

When we first spoke to Surbiton in 2014, we asked them what their vision was. As a school where every child matters, it was no surprise they wanted to offer an education to meet the individual needs of every child in their school. Their vision in 2014 was for every teacher and pupil to have their own iPad and use it in their day to day work to further improve their pupil’s happiness and independent learning, by offering each child a learning experience truly unique to them.

They particularly wanted to focus on enhancing the process of learning, defining a common toolset and workflow that every student and staff member can understand, allowing iPad to be adopted more easily.

Steps to Achievement

This was a big challenge, naturally their success did not happen overnight. As Dominic Norrish, Group Director of Technology at Surbiton High School said: “The maturity of technology use observed at Surbiton High School has taken years to emerge and spread through department structures.” At the very beginning of this process, Albion helped to guide Surbiton on the steps they needed to turn their vision into a reality.

We always advise schools that iPad deployments should be supported by the Head and need strong leadership in order to be successful. Surbiton took our advice on this and one of the first things they did was appoint Jose Piccardo, Assistant Principal, as digital strategist. Dominic described the strong leadership as a ‘pivotal success factor’ of the project. He added: “The development of internal ‘champions’ seems to have been an important part of the spread of technology-enhanced teaching.”

In our thirty years of experience working with schools, we have recognised that financial sustainability is crucial to implementing iPad in the classroom. So before supplying Surbiton with their initial teacher’s iPad, we worked together on cost modelling and financial sustainability planning for the school. We also offered Surbiton our iCare package, meaning every iPad has an extended warranty and is covered against accidental damage and theft. This has allowed the implementation to remain successful to this day.

As an independent school, Surbiton wanted to keep the scheme in line with their branding. So we supplied them with bespoke colouring and engraved iPad cases to match Surbiton’s school logo.

At Albion, we believe training is key to getting the most out of iPad as possible. We therefore provided all the teachers with appropriate training, following a skills audit. This included classroom teaching and in class support from our Apple Education Trainers to support teachers deliver outstanding teaching and learning experiences.

The Results

Surbiton High School have made great progress from their initial vision in 2014. Everyone at Surbiton has embraced this vision ever since, with every teacher and student now using an iPad in their daily learning and teaching lives. Many areas of the school have improved since the iPad implementation:


• A survey conducted in 2015 and 2016 indicated students at Surbiton were remaining positive about their learning. This is hugely significant, as it contrasts with the decline in positivity many other schools have a problem with.

• Many of the well-evidenced processes behind learning, such as agency and collaboration, were increasingly positively reported by students since the implementation of iPad at Surbiton.


• Using Showbie as their workflow for digital submissions has improved the efficiency and effectiveness of feedback as it ‘forces engagement with the substance rather than the surface of grades and makes dense feedback more accessible’.

• Teachers agreed using ‘voice notes’ for feedback is far quicker and more effective than hand or typewritten marking, meaning more time can be spent on the quality and detail of the feedback.

• Students also greatly approved of verbal feedback, seeing it as a continuation of teaching, rather than a separate process.


• Teachers value the ability iPad gives them to share marking with colleagues, leave whole class feedback and see a student’s entire history of work instantly and easily. iPad has given them the power to ensure no student falls through the gaps, and are now able to provide a truly personalised learning experience for every single pupil.

• Because iPad speeds up the marking process, teachers are using this reclaimed time to give each student more detailed feedback, allowing students to more independently set themselves targets and constantly improve upon their work.

• Some students believe that the technology is improving the turn-around speed of marking because of the simplification of the process for teachers. No missing books, no piles of work to carry around and the ability to work on it anywhere means marking is back in the students’ hands much quicker than it was before the use of iPad.

Parental partnerships

• Staff reported enhancement to parental partnership due to technology, particularly among parents evening.

Looking Forward

Looking forward, Surbiton High school are continuing to support teachers in the use of innovative technology and will continue to embrace iPad to enhance the learning environment for everyone. They strive to ‘support a healthy culture of ‘what works’, combining the best of traditional with emerging methods where they support learning most effectively.’ As a school which constantly strives to ‘offer a breadth of opportunity which allows every pupil to flourish’, Surbiton has continued to develop and improve upon the use of innovative technology throughout the school.

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