Digital boost for pupils with 39,000 iPads in 1:1 roll out

Every school pupil from P6 to S6 in Scotland’s Capital city will receive their own digital device as part of an ambitious and inclusive education strategy, Edinburgh Learns for Life.

The 1:1 roll out, being carried out in partnership with the City of Edinburgh Council’s ICT services provider CGI, will start from September thanks to a £17.6m boost to learning and teaching. In addition to the personal distribution additional iPads will be also be issued to P1 to P5 year groups on an agreed ratio.

Key elements of the Empowered Learning programme, which will see a phased roll out of all the devices completed by the end of 2022, include: 27,000 new iPads being issued to pupils/staff, refreshed iPads for up to 12,000 pupils/staff and expanding the wireless connectivity in schools by providing wireless access points and a comprehensive programme of professional learning for teachers.                                                                                          

Benefits for young people include:

  • Fair and equal access from P6 to S6, ensuring all pupils have personal access to digital learning with their teacher in school or at home
  • Effective digital workflow to increase engagement, improve teacher feedback and raise attainment
  • A range of innovative accessibility features to improve access to the curriculum for pupils with additional support needs
  • Pupils can work online simultaneously in a class or collaboratively outside the classroom
  • High quality digital applications for productivity and creativity, providing more ways to personalise and choose how they learn
  • Development of learning, thinking and digital literacy skills vital for success in today’s rapidly evolving, technological society

The roll-out meets a key element of one of the 15 outcomes and actions from the Council’s three year business plan ‘Our Future Council, Our Future City’: ‘increasing attainment for all and reducing the poverty-related attainment gap’. The business plan was approved by Councillors during their budget meeting on 18 February where they also agreed £8m funding for additional digital devices.

The 1:1 programme reinforces our commitment to becoming one of the world’s ‘smartest cities’ – last year Edinburgh was listed in the Smart City of Year Digital 100 shortlist following recent work by the Council, CGI and other providers to enhance connectivity and embrace new technologies. 

The roll-out also meets Article 29 (goals of education) for the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child which highlights the importance of developing every child’s personality, talents and abilities to the full.

Councillor Ian Perry, Education Convener for the City of Edinburgh Council, said:

This is a really exciting project which is going to be a real game-changer for the learning and teaching in our schools. Giving pupils their own device has been shown to improve outcomes and result in increased engagement and motivation for our young people. It will create a learning environment which will drive higher levels of creativity also improve teacher and learner collaboration.

The roll out will build on the skills developed by our teaching staff by having many more opportunities to use digital technology and create effective digital leadership teams in all our schools. In addition to giving pupils their own devices we’ll make sure the IT infrastructure is in place by increasing the bandwidth capacity and wi-fi connectivity in our schools.

Councillor Alison Dickie, Education Vice Convener for the City of Edinburgh Council, said:

This 1:1 roll out fits with the three goals of Edinburgh learns for Life – to transform, connect and empower. Giving every young person from P6 upwards their own device, is yet another tool in the educational toolbox to support and ensure the fullest potential of every child. 

It’s so important for all our young people to have equal access as lockdown demonstrated quite starkly how some of our young people struggled because they didn’t have their own device. It’s essential that each learner is on a level playing field so the equity gap in Edinburgh does not widen. It will help equip all of our young people with the skills required for the modern workplace and our way of life in the digital age.

Lindsay McGranaghan, CGI Vice President and Scotland Business Unit Lead, said:

We are delighted to be undertaking this project with the City of Edinburgh Council. We look forward to working in partnership to provide an effective and exciting digital solution for nearly 40,000 pupils and teachers.  

Empowered Learning provides a learning environment that’s engaging and inspirational. It directly tackles the attainment gap, and recognises the key role of educators in delivering a digital classroom. Through Empowered Learning, educators can create and tailor lessons to personalise learning and access new ways of bringing teaching to life. Above all, Empowered Learning helps educators provide learning that is richer and more rewarding for both pupils, and for their parents, while also providing the highest level of security and safety standards.

Published: April 1st 2021