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Backlash following plans to roll out iPads at local school

ipad 350x225 Backlash following plans to roll out iPads at local schoolRossett School in Harrogate have started to implement plans to roll out Apple iPads to all students.

The plans rely on support from parents, either buying the units themselves outright, buying through the school or a pay monthly scheme, also through the school. Parents have the option to not participate and the school have said in such cases they do not have funds to subsidise, but will provide iPads for use in lessons to ensure no students are disadvantaged.

The scheme is termed the one to one scheme where, according to the academy school, each pupil with their own iPad would benefit from greater motivation, engagement, parental involvement and understanding of complex ideas.

For those who do not already have an iPad the school is offering two schemes, an assisted purchase where they buy the unit through the school at £332.50 for the latest model iPad, or a pay-monthly option scheme, termed a monthly donation scheme.

The monthly donation scheme is being finalised by the school, but will require more than the cost of a single payment. The lowest specification device suitable is an iPad mini at £224.20

The changes have not been universally welcomed by parents with concerns being raised that the school has a high expectation parents should provide the iPads and that they will be disadvantaged if they do not.

The concerns raised have included:

  • High initial financial outlay
  • Peer pressure and being excluded
  • Access to social media throughout the day
  • Security risk carrying to and from school
  • Reliance on the iPad for homework
  • Lack of involvement and engagement with the parents explaining the need

Rossett have said that for those without iPads, who have homework set that requires their use, the pupil can stay behind after school and make use of the Resource Centre.

iPads were chosen by the school following a period of evaluation and were, according to the school, selected for their competitive price and range of already developed educational applications. It is not possible to substitute an android device or traditional laptop.

Looking after the unit will be entirely down to the pupil with no provision being made by the school for insurance. The school offers the advice that if when carrying the iPad home they approached then they should just hand the iPad over and leave the matter with the police.

A recent discussion thread on facebook saw nearly 200 comments being made in a few hours. A few of the typical comments made:

 

I don’t feel that the parents were properly involved. The first I knew about it was the letter home last week with the prices on it.

 

We were given two options first pay in full and save vat second donation scheme but no details. I think this shouldn’t of been lauched until all details were available. To do this 3 weeks before Xmas is wrong. This Christmas suddenly became very expensive. Let’s hope our children aren’t targeted on the school buses. They said insurance is our responsibility that seems wrong to me.

 

I have 2 kids at Rossett and can’t afford them just before x- mas. I am all for moving with the times but if they can not teach our kids without them then how has society managed before !!! And I quite agree with the fact that a good amount of them will be broken by the end of the first term.

 

The way we learn and skills that we need are changing! This isn’t just happening in Harrogate this is happening in schools across the country and even at university. Technology is becoming a tool that everyone will need to know in the future. Everything will be done through the Internet. Just because you have an iPad doesn’t mean that’s all teachers will use in their lessons. Maybe give then some credit, teachers are aware that you need a variety of methods and resources to teach a lesson. The apps are tailored to help, it makes the lessons more interactive and can even help those children who struggle to keep up in lessons as each lesson can be tailored to each child an can work through it in their own time. I believe that this is a good thing. BUT too premature and too expensive. This is the future but technology hasn’t been fully developed.

 

The school has been contacted for comment and provided the following statement:

Rossett School headteacher Pat Hunter said:

Overall we have received a very positive response from parents for the proposed changes to improve teaching and learning at Rossett. This is an integral part of our drive to provide the best opportunities for our students.

Since our ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted in 2010 we have been developing the way we teach (together with our Red Kite Alliance partners) to encourage our learners to be resilient, responsible and reflective – the three Rs – so that they are fully prepared for an ever-changing world.

We believe that, in order to remain an ‘Outstanding’ school, it is important to adapt to the constantly changing needs of students so that they can reach their full potential both inside and outside school.

We understand that buying an iPad is not a cheap option, but we believe it is a very worthwhile investment. Before we decided to go ahead with the changes, we spent a lot of time researching and we have two options for parents. One is for them to buy an iPad outright which will be minus the VAT, as we can do this as an educational establishment. The second option involves a monthly donation with the e-Learning Foundation (a national organisation which is supporting a lot of schools in this way). It is part of their remit that there will be no child that will be disadvantaged because of financial reasons and details of this scheme will be explained to parents more fully in January when the scheme goes live.

At Rossett, we have always made sure that all children are given the same opportunities and this will be no exception. For those pupils who do not have their own iPads for whatever reason, there will be equipment available at school to ensure that they can participate in exactly the same way as their classmates. All of our students will be able to take advantage of the new technology and teaching methods on offer.

We will be listening to all the questions and concerns raised about these changes and we will do everything we can to address them. In turn, we are confident that once parents have heard the plans in full detail and have seen how this incredible opportunity will enhance students’ learning, they will agree it is the right way forward for teaching and learning at Rossett.

 

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