Digital access is vital to aiding child’s learning - Joan Griffiths
I am hugely proud that our ambitious Empowered Learning programme will provide every school pupil from P6 to S6 in Scotland’s Capital with their own digital device.
The 1:1 roll-out, being carried out in partnership with our ICT services provider CGI, started in schools across the city at the start of the year and is due to be completed in December.
It will result in 41,000 iPads being given to pupils and teaching staff as we look to provide equality of access to digital devices and raise attainment.
And it’s not just our P6 to S6 pupils who will benefit. In addition to their personal devices we’re providing iPads to P1 to P5 year groups on an agreed ratio and over a 1,000 across our early years settings. There will be devices for all teaching staff and we have 1150 to cover rising rolls for the school year. So far 17,000 iPads have been delivered and the roll out completed in 76 schools.
The next major phase of the roll out has now started with devices being distributed to our high schools. Yesterday during my visit to Craigroyston High School I saw first-hand the real impact of the scheme on pupils as they were given their own devices that will accompany them on their learning journey through school.
The vital need for digital access to learning was never more starkly illustrated than during the pandemic when remote learning and teaching became the norm. Some pupils struggled as they didn’t have their own devices and this highlighted the importance of making sure all our pupils have the digital means to learn on a level playing field.
The Empowered Learning programme, funded by a £17.6m investment by the Council, demonstrates this commitment and Edinburgh is pioneering the use of technology in education for teachers and pupils alike.
But it’s not just about handing out new iPads. We have to make sure the infrastructure and training is there to support everyone. As part of the programme there will also be enhanced wi-fi coverage for all our schools and early years settings, improved collaboration and classroom management tools such as Apple Classroom. So far cabling and wireless access point installations have been completed at 106 settings.
Also the benefits of the programme go far wider than just pupils and teaching staff having their own device. It leads to personalising learning, improving teacher feedback, preparing students for future working, collaborative on and off-line working and, crucially supporting all our efforts to raise attainment.
I am also delighted that funding for 4 years of this programme has been agreed as part of the Council’s 2021-26 Revenue Budget Settlement.
I firmly believe this project shows our commitment to providing our children and young people with every opportunity to succeed in their education and provide them with the skills required for their future career paths.
Joan Griffiths, Convener for Education, Children and Families at the City of Edinburgh Council