The in-house ‘tech support’ at Whaplode Primary School really is looking younger.
They say police officers and doctors look more youthful each year, but at Whaplode CofE Primary School it is the children themselves who are providing IT help and support to fellow pupils – and occasionally teachers.
Young Lexie Cave, Jade Whitmore and Josh Bennett are digital leaders within a school that is exceptional when it comes to IT provision.
Every child has an iPad linked to big screens in classrooms. By scanning QR codes provided by the teacher, pupils can work independently and at their own pace.
The school has just been awarded the status of Apple Regional Training Centre, one of a very small number throughout the country.
Teacher Chris Copeman, who steered the improvement in technology provision in school, has been given the status of Apple Distinguished Educator.
He said: “Three years ago we had about 16 old Windows laptops which took about half an hour to start up and to switch off.
“Now every child has their own iPad. We pride ourselves on the fact that they are independent learners and take risks with their learning and we like to think that is because they have their own iPad.”
Not only are youngsters doing their own research thanks to having iPads, but Chris says there has been a big improvement in results, with the school moving from ‘requiring improvement’ to ‘good’ in Ofsted inspections.
Staff and pupils are now confident and skilled in using the new technology, and on Wednesday the school held its official launch as an Apple Regional Training Centre. Presentations were made to schools from across the district about using iPads in the curriculum and explaining how Whaplode Primary School can support other schools that want to follow the same route. Twelve training courses are already planned for the coming year.
As headteacher Alison Flack says: “We just want to get the message out to local schools that we are here to support them with Apple products and we can support them with learning for individual groups of children.”