Blessed William Howard

The Painsley Catholic Academy was established in 2012. We are the largest Catholic multi-academy company in the Archdiocese of Birmingham.

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i-Pads open up new learning opportunities at school


Y8 Science students with their new i-pads

 (right to left:  Mollie Hancock, Lizzie Ryan, Neave Hemmings, Beth Crompton-Jones, Richard Snell, Jonathan Li and Gabriel Christelow)

At the start of this year Blessed William Howard Catholic High School purchased 60 i-Pads to trial as class room learning resources.  After an unprecedented success the school plans to lease an additional 1000 units for September, as the new intake of Y7 students arrive.  BWH is a pioneering school in making such a commitment to mobile technology. 

The school originally invested in four sets of fifteen i-Pads and used three of the sets in the science department with students aged 11 to 18.  The other set was available for use by other curriculum areas such as music, RE and English.

 The trial has proven to be extremely successful, making lessons very engaging and significantly boosting pupil participation amongst all ages and ability levels.   

Rachel Whitehouse, from the school’s science department, says: “The i-Pads encourage our pupils to find out information for themselves as independent learners.  The devices allow information to be presented in ways not previously possible, such as interactive videoing ‘educreations’.   They encourage peer collaboration by bringing together pupils who may not normally choose to work together, whilst also promoting independent learning.”

“Teachers can assess pupils using interactive quizzes and pupils have a wealth of information literally at their fingertips.  Exam mark schemes, questions, revision guides have all been made accessible to pupils using QR codes.   Lessons have become more animated and there has been a real buzz around learning via the new methods.” she continued.

Moving forward with wider implementation, the school will lease the additional i-Pads from Entrust,the joint venture company between Staffordshire County Council and Capita to provide education support services.   

Parents will be given the opportunity to contribute towards the cost of these devices at highly competitive rates, so that their child / children can use them as a classroom resource as well as taking them home for personal use.  At the end of either a one, two or three year period the i-Pad will belong to the parents or child, not the school.  Children whose parents do not wish to contribute will still have access to a device for use in lessons.

“Before making this decision, we carried out extensive research on other devices.  We believe that Apple offered additional levels of security and reliability that made the i-Pad the most appropriate device for our school.  We have also invested a lot of resources in providing an infrastructure to support these devices, starting with a managed wireless network to provide robust connectivity for the devices and to help control what is accessed by students.”   commented Angela Dempsey, IT Manager at the school.

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