More than 400 schoolchildren among first to benefit from £16m investment into digital tech

More than 400 schoolchildren have been given access to the latest iPads as part of a £16m investment into digital technology.

Selkirk High School is just the first of nine high schools in the Scottish Borders Council region which will be ‘fully deployed’ with the Inspire Learning programme during 2019/20, with primary schools to follow in 2020/21.  

As part of the scheme, 34 teachers and over 400 pupils at the school will gain access to the latest digital technology which aims to enhance their learning, improve attainment and promote equality. 

The investment aims to transform all schools into ‘world-class’ digital learning spaces and includes investment in improved WiFi, Apple TVs, and teacher training. 

Jamie Bryson, Headteacher of Selkirk High School, said: “There has been great excitement across the school about Inspire Learning. Our teaching staff have fully embraced the technology and students are already experiencing a more creative and collaborative learning experience.  

“We have had great feedback already from parents as well as students and all teachers are working together to maximise the benefits of this technology for the future.” 

At the core of the Inspire Programme is investment in professional development for every teacher in Scottish Borders. All 522 high school teachers across the Borders received an iPad, along with induction training before the summer break, ahead of schedule, to allow them to become familiar with the technology. Deployment to new staff is well underway. 

The Inspire Learning training team will be deployed in every secondary school in the Borders this year offering expert, bespoke professional learning and support to staff in order to effectively deliver teaching and learning with technology in the classroom.   

The programme is future-proofed, with devices refreshed after every four years. Over the course of the ten-year programme, 33,000 iPads will be deployed with more than 11,000 iPads being in circulation at any point.  

Councillor Carol Hamilton, SBC’s Executive Member for Education, said: “We are extremely proud of this programme.  It is one of the biggest and most ambitious digital learning projects in the country which we aim to deliver in the shortest time. 

“There has been a huge amount of work gone into the roll-out to teachers and the first pupils and the feedback even within the first week has been delightful. Already we are hearing stories of improved pupil engagement, behaviour, increased participation and better communication.  

“We are even receiving excellent feedback from parents including those who have children with dyslexia who are benefitting from the technology.  This is what our young people deserve – it is an investment in their future and we are very excited to continue the roll-out to the rest of our schools in the Borders.” 

Inspire Learning is scheduled to be deployed to Kelso, Hawick and Earlston High Schools before Christmas this year.  Peebles, Galashiels and Eyemouth are scheduled for the Winter term 2020.  Berwickshire High is scheduled for the summer term 2020 with Jedburgh Grammar rolled out to the new campus in 2020.  

As part of SBC’s investment, all pupils from P6 to S6 will be provided with an iPad and pupils from P1-P5 will have access to a shared device.  

The programme is being delivered in partnership with the Council’s ICT provider CGI, in conjunction with Apple and XMA.