Since Apple Authorised Education Specialist Jigsaw24 helped them launch a parent-driven 1:1 iPad scheme, Stephenson Memorial Primary School has posted some of their best-ever results, with their scores for writing jumping from below the national average to the top 10% in the UK.
In a parental donation scheme, the school leases an iPad (or other devices) for each pupil and parents make a donation toward the cost, often broken down into an affordable weekly sum. Schemes like this are key to helping schools afford new technology – and are increasingly in demand since the Department for Education mandated that all schools have a remote learning solution in place in case of a second full lockdown.
Because Stephenson Memorial, which serves over 400 pupils in North Tyneside, is in a low-income area, many believed that a parental donation scheme was impossible – but in fact, parents bought in from day one, and uptake has increased every year since the scheme was launched.
“The reasoning behind our parental donation scheme was that we wanted children to have a device that would be part of the family,” explained eLearning Lead Lynsey Carr. “A lot of our families can’t afford to go out and buy an iPad, so the scheme is a breakthrough in terms of them getting connected to the world. It’s so important for children to have access to the online world – the more we can push to get a device in every household, the better.”
As a result of the rollout, the school has seen rapid improvement among their SEND students and the attainment gap between students at the end of Key Stage Two has narrowed sharply.
The number of children achieving the ‘Greater Depth’ standard, which is the highest standard in education for a child aged seven, has significantly improved, and the school’s scores for writing are now in the UK’s top 10%.
One unforeseen consequence of having an iPad scheme in place was that pupils and their parents were both ready to handle remote learning when the UK went into lockdown in March.
Over the first month of lockdown, the school saw high levels of engagement, as pupils, teachers and staff were all familiar with the tools needed for remote learning. While other schools have struggled to keep pupils focused, Stephenson students in Years 2 to 6 submitted over 1000 pieces of work to teachers in the first month of lockdown, as well as uploading 150 photos and videos of work they’d done offline.
“We were just up and running straight away,” Lynsey said. “It’s been really easy for us to check on who’s looking at things and also to keep each other’s spirits up – the children were sharing videos and personal and social updates, and although we weren’t together everyone still felt close. Parents have been communicating with us through the iPad too, so that relationship has evolved as well.”
As the school’s Apple partner, Jigsaw24 helped the school develop their parental donation plan, provided all their hardware (including iPad, MacBook Air and Apple TV so teachers can deliver modern, engaging and varied lesson plans).
Aside from hardware, Jigsaw24 has provided ongoing training and support, helping the school design their professional learning plan and achieve Apple Distinguished School status.
“Training and development is the key to any successful iPad rollout, no matter how it’s funded,” said Jigsaw24’s Professional Development Trainer, Graham Trick. “As schools look for a remote learning solution that meets the DfE’s guidelines, it’s important that they take part in a scheme like Jigsaw24’s Leading Innovation Programme to ensure that their rollout is successful, sustainable and supports all kinds of teachers and learners. Stephenson Memorial Primary School have proven this kind of careful planning can yield amazing results – even in areas which have historically been under-served.”