Shirebrook Academy pupils given iPads after school gets cash boost

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Christmas has come early at Shirebrook Academy with a £34,000 grant for iPad minis.

Shirebrook Academy has been awarded £34,000 from the Wolfson Foundation to spend on iPads for high ability students in years 10 and 11.

The iPad minis will be used to give them access to a wider range of revision aids, promote organisation and allow for more independent study.

The school, in Common Lane, was approached by funding charity, Wolfson Foundation, who asked the School to apply for a grant.

And now the Foundation, which makes grants to schools and sixth from colleges for projects linked to science and technology and literature, languages and the arts, has gifted the Academy £34,000 to equip 120 students with iPad minis.

An additional 32 will be bookable devices for use by all students within school.

Andy Gilbert, the Vice Principal of the Academy, said having iPads will expand their ability to learn and study independently.

He said: “Having iPads will give them access to emails, school calendars, and educational apps that they wouldn’t have access to without them.

“We want to encourage them to study independently, giving them the opportunity to excel in their education.

“They will also be used in lessons for note taking that can be tailored towards their learning style.”

The students who will receive the iPads are all studying towards GCSE’s and will go on to study A-Levels in academic subjects.

Mr Gilbert said: “We make sure that all our students make the right choices for their ability and to ensure that they choose the relevant qualifications for further education.

“We make sure that our high ability students all choose a GCSE route rather than a vocational BTEC route.

“It is these students that will all have an iPad to take home and call their own for their remaining time with us here at Shirebrook.

“We want to make sure they achieve their best and giving them equipment to allow them to study independently and have access to revision material they would otherwise be unable to access is part of that.”

Wolfson Foundation chief executive Paul Ramsbottom, said: “The Wolfson Foundation funds excellence. Our schools programme has an emphasis on institutions doing outstanding work in areas of challenge or deprivation.

“We are delighted to be working with Shirebrook Academy to fund their imaginative use of iPads for students. The Academy are to be congratulated for securing this funding through a nationally competitive funding programme.”

All staff and students will be iPad trained and a contract will be drawn up for all students to sign to ensure they understand their responsibility with the tablet.

Mr Gilbert said: “Everyone will be aware that the tablet is theirs for the duration of their time here and that they have to look after it.

“Everyone is really excited about having them and are looking forward to be able to use them to help them study in the run up to their exams.”

The Academy already has some iPads in school and carried out some research last year, giving half of year 8 the tablets. It was found that having access to the technology improved literacy through the writing of blog posts each week answering a question set by the teaching staff.