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Three years ago, Haslingden High School, a very high achieving school in East Lancashire, had a decidedly low-key IT setup – having only just started using email as an effective communication tool and with no school WiFi network. Today, they have a 1:1 iPad scheme across four year groups and are now an Apple Regional Training Centre. Here’s how they turned things around...
“I arrived at Haslingden from a school where the students were on a 1:1 iPod touch scheme and the staff all had iPad, so to come to a school that didn’t even have WiFi was a bit of a shock to the system,” Deputy Head (Curriculum) Gill Smith told us.
“Justin Roper (Assistant Headteacher E-Learning) and I spent the first year consulting with colleagues about IT solutions and brought in people that could support us on the 1:1 crusade. As a languages teacher, I know the frustration of booking a computer suite and taking your class there, only to encounter occasional IT issues. By the time you’re back in the classroom you’ve wasted half your lesson. Having a 1:1 device on students’ desks gives you another tool for learning that they can access as needed, which opens up a whole new way of learning for students, and a whole new method of pedagogy for us as teachers.”
“It’s not really about iPad any more, bizarre as that might sound. It’s about the whole way teachers are thinking about their lessons and designing their work."
“I first read about Jigsaw24’s e7 Pilot when I was doing some research to convince people that we needed iPad and WiFi here,” Gill told us. “I met with [Jigsaw24 Apple Certified Trainer] Paul Ford. I liked that he’d been in teaching and was able to come to us and say ‘I know exactly where you are and what you need to do.’ He sold the e7 Pilot as a teacher, not a salesman, and we were able to use his expertise during consultation meetings with the rest of the staff to reassure them.”
After convincing parents and governors that iPad was the way forward, sta received an iPad just before the summer holidays so that they could familiarise themselves with it before embarking on a more formal training programme.
“We had to be really careful about the sta training because there was some reluctance,” said Gill. “Colleagues were very nervous, and it reminded me of when interactive whiteboards were rst introduced – people felt intimidated by them and they became something to project onto; the interactivity element was lost. I didn’t want a fearful mindset towards this project.
“We had a number of sta experts in school who were trained by Paul, and they were able to disseminate the ideas to faculties while he supervised. We’ve since accessed several half day training sessions when Paul has worked individually with faculties – which is good, because some have run with iPad and some have been a touch more resistant. Paul is very approachable and he’s had the patience and time to work with the staff and departments, adapting sessions accordingly.”
“A lot of people commented about how positive the rollout of iPad was because we took our time to ensure it was very non-threatening,” Gill explained to us. Having worked hard to bring all their staff on board, the school was very aware that there were no other schools in their area running similar schemes, and no central repository for knowledge around new technologies.
With that in mind, the school decided to apply to become an Apple Regional Training Centre so that they could pass on their expertise to other nearby schools. “This school is good at putting itself on the map,” Justin Roper told us. “Our students achieve highly and everyone knows us in this area – we have a high number of feeder primary schools and several partner secondary schools right on our doorstep that work closely with us in different capacities, so we are well placed [to act as an RTC].”
Gill added, “I knew that it was a great opportunity for our staff; I want us to have Apple Distinguished Educators here in school, to gain credit for our work and to be able to say we are working with Apple. It affirms that we are engaged in transformational approaches to teaching and learning.”
As a result of their stunning success in rolling out iPad, Haslingden was able to make it through the application process relatively easily. “Paul Ford cast an eye over our application and was really proud of us. Our story is genuine and I think we have a lot to offer to other schools.”
So what will Haslingden be offering in their first year as a Regional Training Centre? “Firstly we’re going to be looking at why iPad schemes are worth doing, the planning that the scheme involved and the opportunity to engage with parents – 96% of our parents contribute to our scheme, which is huge. We’re also going to be looking at eSafety; we all have a duty to educate our young people to access the internet and social media safely.
“In terms of actual pedagogy, we know people want to know more about improving learning in maths and English, and we’re going to run some practical field days for science – getting students outside investigating and data logging by using various fieldwork tools that you can attach to your iPad. And we’re really lucky because we are neighbours with a SEND school and some students there are using iPad, so we’re going to co-design some special needs-based courses to demonstrate the accessibility tools available to support learning at all levels.”
And will they be recommending us? “We couldn’t have asked for more from Jigsaw24, and as an RTC we’ll definitely be recommending them.”