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.”