Around 4,600 pupils at Inspiring Futures through Learning (IFtL) have been equipped with 1:1 iPads as part of the multi-academy trust’s commitment to investing in immersive learning technologies for children and driving equal opportunity.
The Futures programme, which began in the autumn, has seen IFtL pupils from Years 2 and above receiving their own iPad to “enhance their engagement, skillset, and outcomes” at 15 IFtL schools across Milton Keynes and Corby.
In a “significant financial investment” from IFtL, through which the devices are issued free of charge, pupils at the trust’s final school – Lavendon School, which joined IFtL last month – will receive their iPads in the spring.
EYFS and Year 1 pupils are also able to access iPads in school to support their learning.
“At IFtL, we have committed to a shared vision centred on children and their futures, and we owe it to the pupils we teach to educate and inspire them to make use of digital technology in the right ways,” said IFtL Digital and Accessibility Lead Shaun Hughes, who leads the project.
“We want to use technology as one way of increasing equity in learning and accessibility of the curriculum. We aim to unlock opportunities for our learners to find out more about our world, learn together when geographically apart, and develop skills for a world that will continue to advance in ways not yet dreamed of in their lifetimes. We are committed to investing in immersive learning technologies for children that are accessible, strengthen engagement and learning for each child, and provide a wealth of digital skills.
“There are several reasons why we have taken this step. We know that the world we are preparing children for is changing quickly. It is more than possible that their first role in the workplace will be one which did not exist when they were born. Every job they ever have will rely on their skilful use of technology. The pace of change is unprecedented and the digital competencies that we can confer through the routine use of technology in every aspect of their learning will be important preparation for this.”
Shaun added that pupils’ iPads are a supplement to, not a replacement for, other approaches to teaching and learning – and the programme has been supported by iPad introductory lessons across over 120 classes, as well as the development of video tutorials and information for families.
“The Futures project is not something we have embarked on casually,” Shaun continued. “We have collaborated with several different trusts, during which we have learned from their expertise and experiences to ensure we approach this project suitably prepared for success. We are certain that iPads will make a marked difference to the quality and pace of learning at school, and convinced that this project will make a significant contribution to children’s education, which is otherwise impossible to replicate.”
To support the project, IFtL is building capacity within and across its schools. The trust’s Futures Ambassadors have been instrumental in driving forward the iPad offer, and they continue to receive a programme of CPD that supports with emerging needs and longer term plans. They also form IFtL’s first cohort of Apple Learning Coaches, the first course of its kind running in England, which is centred as much around coaching as it is digital competency which will support in developing leadership capacity.
“The Futures programme is a significant one for IFtL and we are delighted with the smooth rollout of devices,” said CEO Sarah Bennett. “The staggered approach we have taken has offered the chance to introduce iPads into classrooms in a focused and effective manner. At the same time, we have been able to ensure policies and procedures are robust, including the introduction of our effective filtering and monitoring handbook, our policies and guidance to families, and the support that teachers and students needed in the classroom. Family engagement in this project has been very successful to date, with many schools reporting excellent involvement and feedback.”