Courthouse Green Primary School
Courthouse Green Primary School is reaping the rewards from a collaboration with Apple Authorised Education Specialist, KRCS, following the deployment of 405 learning devices and the delivery of on-going support from a Managed Service subscription.
The school wanted to develop their approach to teaching and learning so that children were able to be more involved in the process and were developing skills of creativity and collaboration. This would support pupils by building confidence and giving them hope for their educational future. After extensive research into what potential employers look for from job applicants, it was clear that the school needed to produce collaborators, communicators, and creative thinkers using the latest learning technologies both inside and outside of the classroom environment.
Teachers received comprehensive training and support prior to the roll-out of 405 devices across the school. KRCS Managed Service ensures all iPad and Mac work flawlessly all day, every day; saving money, reducing teacher workload, and eliminating the need for time-consuming, in-school IT management.
Every child in the school has the very best learning opportunities to enable them to achieve excellent personal and academic growth through a rich and challenging curriculum. Apple technology has really supported this and, as a result, attendance is up and the level of pupil exclusions has been significantly reduced. The Headteacher says taking up the KRCS Managed Service option was the ‘best decision ever’ and the staff are fully on-board because they know the solution works – the first time and every time.
There has been no better moment in my whole career than seeing all the children open those boxes and log on to their iPad. Apple technology is simplicity itself; everything you’re ever going to need and it’s accessible to children of all ages. It’s enabled the children to lead their own learning and to present it in a more creative way and the teachers have developed their knowledge and skill set often alongside the children. Pupils can proudly demonstrate their skill sets and are able to collaborate with others whilst sharing and adapting their understanding.
Courthouse Green is situated in a challenging area with high levels of unemployment and where poor mental health is prevalent. Back in 2016, there were just eight iPads in each classroom which facilitated group working, but Headteacher, Sarah Malam, says that how they were used was very varied. ‘We realised we needed to implement more reliable technology throughout the school in order to achieve our visions’, she explains. ‘We knew it was vital to be able to deliver an education that would put our pupils on a level playing field with all children across the country, irrespective of their starting points and we believed that the use of technology through the school would prepare them for a successful future.’
Sarah says the school wanted to provide flexible learning using the latest mobile technologies to ensure IT became an integral part of the whole curriculum; engaging and exciting pupils by giving them the opportunity to work inside, outside and remotely. ‘We also wanted to encourage creative thinking in the same way as it is a key feature in the early years curriculum, so we re-wrote our curriculum and put iPad at the heart of it’, she adds.
With the support of KRCS, the school arranged a carefully planned launch assembly which saw 405 devices being handed out to pupils and staff. The children were excited to tear into their iPad boxes and, within a few minutes, had logged in and set to work. Assistant Head & Assessment/Curriculum Co-ordinator, Jennie Spare, says pupils were happy and proud to receive the iPad. ‘It was so easy’, she says. ‘All the Apps were pre-loaded and ready to go, so all they had to do was log in and they were off! The technology has improved engagement across the whole school and pupils are much more creative and confident.’
1:1 iPad deployment
The school has invested in 1:1 iPad deployment for pupils in Years 3-6. This means 400 children now have their own exclusive iPad. Teacher and Technology Lead, Rachel Squires, says this has improved creativity, interactivity, and accessibility for all. ‘The children are now creators’ says Rachel. ‘Digital literacy has improved massively, and the iPad has been really helpful in breaking down barriers to learning. For example, one pupil, whose handwriting was so hard to read that it was almost impossible to assess his work, has improved in leaps and bounds now he can use his iPad to create and present his work. His confidence and pride in his ability has improved so much that he’s now really enjoying coming into school.’
Learning and Assessment
The school chose both SeeSaw and Showbie platforms for learning and assessment which help teachers manage classroom workflows and increase collaboration with students and parents. ‘The technology has definitely resulted in whole school engagement.’ says Sarah. ‘As I walk around the school, I see children motivated, sharing, working silently or talking in groups – completely focused and confident in what they’re doing.’
iPad is much quicker for checking spelling. Before, we had to find a dictionary or thesaurus which could take 10 minutes or more, but now we just ask Siri and it’s instant!
The software has made big changes to the way assessment is carried out. It enables quick and easy online marking, regular voice notes or verbal comments and direct feedback through Showbie where children can reflect back on their learning. The school uses Kahoot for interactive quizzing and its GEMs (Growth, Effort, Manners, Success) programme recognises and rewards pupils for their hard work, helping to develop confidence and resilience.
I really enjoy coding with Sphero. Last week we used it to build a map of the world and travelled to countries like Brazil, Spain and even Australia!
Learning in Lockdown
During the national lockdown in 2020, the school was easily able to continue teaching through the platforms of Showbie and Seesaw. Year 6 pupils could take their iPad home with them for the duration of the lockdown and others were able to log in remotely from any device at home. ‘It was great to be able to keep in touch so easily and ensure pupils weren’t missing out on their education’, says Rachel. ‘Being in touch, messaging, team talks, daily activities and challenges really gave the children a sense of belonging which was vital to help lift their spirits during such an uncertain time. It was also useful to be able to communicate regularly with parents. Now the school has been able to re-open, any child required to isolate is allowed to take their iPad home with them to ensure they can keep up creatively with what they should be doing in school.’
The arrival of iPad in school is also reported to have cut down dramatically on teacher workload.
They’re quick to switch on, for a start. No waiting for computers to warm up and work can be shared quickly and easily with pupils and colleagues alike. Using Keynote is really useful for lesson planning and marking. It’s so much quicker to give verbal/recorded feedback and the time saved means more time to think about the delivery of learning.
KRCS Managed Service for Schools
KRCS delivered Apple Professional Learning (APL) training and, after a Planning Essentials session, the school decided it needed all its Apple devices managed by KRCS so that they were always up-to-date and ready for use. It was able to trade in all its pre-owned devices to offset the cost of the new equipment and provided an iPad for every pupil in the school financed via a 3-year subscription. The KRCS Managed Service, using Jamf Pro Mobile Device Management, meant every iPad was ready to use out of the box and continues to be managed by KRCS, with updates, Apps, Apple Classroom and profile changes all deployed remotely. This provision also included onsite training for all levels of the teaching staff.
KRCS Apple Professional Learning Specialist, Chris Smith, worked with the school to plan a Professional Development Programme and to help set out a clear vision across all Key Stages and subject areas. ‘KRCS set everything up so all the Apps were loaded, and the iPads were ready to teach.’ says Sarah. ‘They even helped hand out the devices at our launch day. The devices work flawlessly all day, every day, and IT headaches are now a thing of the past. All we have to do is charge them and turn them on.’
Sarah says KRCS Managed Service has made delivery reliable, useable and has streamlined the technology. ‘Before, devices would need updating or not have the right App, really impacting on the day’s teaching’ she says. ‘Now everything works all the time which means complete peace of mind. Chris is still very involved in supporting the school with on-going teacher training, encouragement and engagement and the response to any queries is very fast indeed. All in all, a great service offering excellent value for money.’
Since receiving APL training from KRCS, teachers have been keen to keep up to date with best practice to enhance their learning and teaching skills. They say they are in regular contact with Chris and take part in Continual Professional Development (CPD) sessions. ‘We also follow the education chat on Twitter, attend regular webinars and have formed a Technology Working Party to share best practice with our colleagues and other schools’ says Jennie.
Support from KRCS
‘The relationship with KRCS has proved invaluable’ says Sarah. ‘From the initial planning and technology meetings, through regular visits to the school, constant communication and support, the team at KRCS are very hands on. They’re only ever an email away and response is always smooth, helpful and fast.’
In February 2020, the school was inspected and rated as “GOOD” by Ofsted. The report stated: “Courthouse Green Primary School continues to be a good school. There is enough evidence of improved performance to suggest that the school could be judged outstanding if we were to carry out a section 5 inspection.”
Engagement has improved, attendance is higher than the national average, and exclusion rates are now lower than the national average, which has been a real positive for a school that is always keen to improve and innovate’ says Sarah. ‘Parental feedback has also been particularly encouraging with some parents even approaching me at the school gates to say thank you. Implementing Apple technology throughout the school and choosing KRCS Managed Service really was the best decision ever.