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Prince Henry's Grammar School's hi-tech bid to improve quality
An Otley school has hit upon a hi-tech way of boosting pupil achievement – by handing out iPads.
Prince Henry’s Grammar School has given each of its staff one of the tablet computers, which cost about £300 each, and bought another 70 for students.
The trial is designed to give the children more interactive support in their learning, and includes the loan of a batch of iPads to 28,Year 7 students who can take them home each evening to help with homework.
Prince Henry's hopes to roll out the initiative, should the trial prove successful, across the entire school and believes it will improve access to Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for everyone.
Headteacher Janet Sheriff said: “Our vision for Prince Henry's is to provide an education that best prepares our students for success in the 21st century.
“We are in danger of failing our students if we don't invest in the very best tools for learning, or if we miss opportunities to develop our students' IT skills.”
The school is now starting to gather feedback from students, staff and parents and the initial findings seem positive.
Deputy headteacher with responsibility for Prince Henry's ICT infrastructure, Chris Rowbottom, said: “The use of technology in the classroom is really effective in motivating students.
“It engages students using strategies employed regularly in the world around us. We have found that the iPad gives instant access to online resources in a way that ordinary laptops or desktops are unable to do.
“They also allow students and teachers to take advantage of the impressive range of specially- developed, subject-specific educational apps, therefore enabling students to learn in new and exciting ways.”
Some of the Year 7 students themselves have also given the experiment a thumbs up.
Jude Mason said: “Using an iPad helps to develop your understanding and gets you more interested in the lesson, it makes you want to learn more. They also make you think a bit more openly about how to present your work.”
Finley Staines said: “We have used iPads quite a lot, for example videoing and recording different science experiments.
“If you have homework you can e-mail it back to the teacher as soon as you have finished.”
School governors and the leadership team will fully review the feedback before deciding on the next step. A full consultation with parents is being promised should the results suggest that a ‘one to one’ (one iPad to each student) scheme – which could have cost implications – would be the most effective.
Ilkley Grammar has recently trialled a similar initiative.