1:1 Programme at Perins School in Hampshire
As methodology the Research_Strategy was used.
Overview of the school
Perins School is an average sized mixed comprehensive school for students aged 11-16 serving the area around the Hampshire market town of Alresford. The school has a relatively low percentage first language non-English, special education needs, and free school meal entitlements. The school converted to Academy status in August 2011.
ICT infrastructure and resources
Overall infrastructure and resources
Perins school has a 100Mb/s fibre connection via Hampshire’s LEA, and a fast site wide wireless network (5GHz n standard). The school has a virtualised server infrastructure (HyperV); Moodle is hosted internally on a separate physical server. In addition to the 873 laptops in the 1:1 programme, there are laptops for loan, departments and exams. All teaching staff and many support staff have a laptop which is renewed every 4 years. There are 3 fulltime members in the ICT support team, and there is a full time Moodle support officer.
Major upgrades of servers, network and wireless network were implemented.
Overview of the initiative
The 1:1 programme began in September 2007 as part of a move towards transforming learning. The step consisted of more than just bringing technology into the school. In 2002 already, Perins had formulated a vision on ICT that expressed that in 2012 every student would have their own device: “All staff and students will have a laptop/notebook”. From 2002 to 2007 Perins worked on their infrastructure, expanded work on the Virtual Learning Environment Moodle and built ICT skills for their teaching staff, also supplying them with a laptop. From 2007, after extensive upgrades of infrastructure, Perins implemented the programme for Year 7. Uptake at first was around 70%, now 5 years later it is more than 90%. For students without a laptop there are loan laptops. The programme relies heavily on use of the VLE as well as electronic portfolio software (Mahara). The programme is connected to the initial vision and the embedding of transformational skills. Aims were to prepare students for the future, increase the quality of learning and raise standards in an already high performing school. Students learn transformational skills that include independence, personalisation, resilience, teamwork and co-operation, as well as giving them skills for the jobs of the future. The 1:1 programme plays an important role in Continuing Professional Development, to encourage staff to develop teaching resources that look beyond the classroom and textbook, and change pedagogy. Pedagogy is as much a driving force as technology.
“If the programme had only focused on technology it would have failed.” – Director of e-Learning
English teacher - “We should not just use ICT for the sake of using ICT”.
“Students must be ‘learning leaders’ rather than ‘digital leaders’.” – Head teacher
Staff are far more confident users of technology and more willing to embrace a range of methods and approaches to using technology in their lessons. Lessons are more varied, have greater differentiation and a range of outcomes. There also is more balance in the type of use, and a ‘fit for purpose’ attitude towards ICT is adopted. Within professional development ICT plays an important role, as well in sharing and communicating information between teachers, with students, and with parents.
The school has rethought its ICT policies on safeguarding, e-safety and cyber bulling. ICT is a regular item in school development and implementation plans. Parents too have become more used to using electronic forms of communication with use for example texting, accessing the VLE and e-mail. Parents understand that school is different and offers a different approach to teaching and learning. Care has been taken to ensure that parents who cannot afford the scheme have financial support from Perins and the e-Learning foundation.
Evidence from teachers suggests that students are more self-confident, more willing to share and collaborate and are making good progress. Students have a much greater range of skills and seem to be much better equipped when they leave. In addition, students work more independently, are more resilient and more focused on their learning. Students are aware of the disadvantages of ICT, like it being a potential distraction, as well and adopt the same ‘fit for purpose’ attitude as teachers.
Key lessons learnt
- ICT is not an end in itself, and must go hand-in-hand with pedagogical change: it’s not only an ICT initiative, the focus is on student learning. It takes a lot of time to embed this into an organization. Be patient, and learn from what went wrong. The initiative is a continuous process.
- You don’t always have to use a computer. Choose ‘fit for purpose’, and connect ICT to the student and teacher skills. Connect these skills to the ‘outside world’.
- You need a combination of a top-down and bottom-up approach to have a successful initiative. This has to be reflected in the organization: the innovation needs support by senior management and governors, but also staff and departments.
- The infrastructure and support needs to be adequate. Use targeted tendering to ensure that suppliers meet your needs. Do not be afraid to re-tender if you are not getting what you want.
- Teachers need skills and confidence, not only for using ICT, but also to implement it in their lessons. This demands improvisational talent, but also continuing professional development.
- Take concerns like exams and distractions seriously, but be brave when it comes to taking next steps. Communicate well with all parties, including parents.
- Leading a 1:1 programme is great for teacher retention and attraction, and good for the school profile.