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Fun and engaging learning at Nether Alderley with a 1:1 iPad scheme

When Nether Alderley first started using iPad, what started as a project around improving feedback quickly turned into an opportunity to do much more. We spoke to Andy Brady, Deputy Headteacher, to talk about how they’re rolling out iPad on a 1:1 basis and how it’s improving teaching and learning.


Conal Siddall

Nether Alderley and their teaching and learning culture

Nether Alderley, located in the heart of Cheshire, is a small rural school and founder member of the Fallibroome Trust. “Quite simply, the school aims to instil a love of learning in all its pupils and create an environment where all pupils are happy, safe and valued,” Andy tells us. “We are particularly enthused by the potential of technology in engaging pupils and offering them a personalised learning journey that enables them to fulfil their learning potential and explore their interests and talents creatively across the whole of the school curriculum.”


Transforming teaching through a 1:1 iPad scheme

“What had initially started as a project aimed at developing pupils' work through detailed verbal feedback (deploying iPad in a 1:1 context and using apps such as Showbie) quickly developed into something much more significant,” Andy said. The teaching staff at Nether Alderley quickly realised that 1:1 iPad provision facilitated a more personalised approach to learning across the curriculum. “Pupils could select their preferred ways of communicating their ideas, through podcasts, movies and Keynotes for example. Individual times tables and spelling lists, practised via different apps, enabled each pupil to concentrate on their specific learning goals and promoted an inclusive approach to learning – enabling each child to access learning at their own level.

“Personalising pupils' learning had a transformational impact on their attainment, engagement and love of learning,” he told us. “Through 1:1 iPad deployment, our pupils took devices home and, consequently, parental engagement was increased; Showbie gave us the ability to share pupils' work and feedback, which enabled parents to take a proactive role in supporting their child's progress.”


Choosing the right device

“iPad was the device of choice for a number of reasons: most pertinently, we recognised incredible value in Apple’s suite of built-in apps, while the ability for pupils to quickly master new skills across creative apps, such as GarageBand and iMovie, offered new and exciting learning opportunities for pupils and staff,” Andy said.

A major advantage of the Apple platform is the high quality hardware and software having a longer lifecycle, so people can continue to use iPad when other devices would need replacing. “As with all Apple products, the quality of iPad speaks for itself, and we are still using the same devices that we brought in four years ago,” Andy explained.

iPad also features great Accessibility tools. Andy told us about how these have proven to be an incredible advantage for pupils. “Simple features, such as being able to manipulate the screen hue for pupils experiencing visual stress difficulties have proven useful, as too has the ability for pupils to hear their work read to them through the speak selection function – this was a game-changer in terms of empowering children to recognise their errors and make subsequent improvements to their work; how often do we hear our pupils read what they think they've written, as opposed to what is actually recorded on paper or screen?”


Implementing the project

“A long-term strategic plan was devised and presented to necessary stakeholders,” Andy explained. “This was an essential part of the process, as we recognised early on that we needed buy-in from everyone if the project was to meet its aims. 

“When we first launched the project, the infrastructure that supports a 1:1 deployment today, such as Apple School Manager, wasn't in place, so it was essential that we had a clear system of app deployment and purchasing,” he told us. “Jigsaw24 played an essential role in enrolling devices into an effective MDM solution, which took away the burden of having to manage the devices. This left staff to get on with what they do best – creating exciting and engaging learning experiences for our pupils.”


iPad and the impact on student learning

Andy asserted that iPad has had a transformational impact on teaching and learning at Nether Alderley. “Pupil engagement has been dramatically increased, and the ability to continue work on classroom projects beyond the school environment has helped create a learning culture that extends beyond the usual 9am-3.20pm school day.

“Pupils' editing skills have also developed as they make use of the easy editing and text manipulation features to alter and enhance writing as they compose – much in the same way as we all do when emailing,” he said. “Often, their first draft will be the culmination of tens, sometimes hundreds, of minor tweaks and word changes – enhancements that were simply not present in their work before the use of iPad.

“It goes without saying that increased pupil engagement, more personalised learning and the ability to enhance existing and introduce new pedagogies has resulted in rising pupil outcomes; KS2 data supports this,” Andy adds. “However, improved results is merely a consequence of good teaching and learning; our rationale remains the same: 'How can we make learning more fun and engaging for our pupils?'”


An exciting future for using iPad

Andy spoke about their future plans for iPad. “Long term, we will look at extending our provision of iPad beyond Y5 and Y6, as we recognise the enormous benefits that such provision offers. With exciting advances in iPad, such as the use of Apple pencil and other writing tools, there seems to be a continual evolution in the ways that technology can continue to enhance teaching and learning.” He added, “The future is even more exciting than the incredible journey we have enjoyed over the previous four years!”


Working with Jigsaw24

“Jigsaw 24 have proven time and again to be our ideal partners,” Andy told us. “They handle the technical aspects, which enables us to concentrate on doing the best for our pupils and their families. Combine that with the quality of training and the consistent support from committed managers such as Alan, and Jigsaw24 continue to play a key part in enabling our children to make the most of iPad and other Apple technologies. I cannot recommend their services enough!”

You can read more about Nether Alderley Primary School and their work here.


Want to know more about how iPad can transform teaching and learning in your school? Get in touch with our expert education team by calling 03332 409 290 or by emailing For all the latest news, inspiration and events, follow us on LinkedInFacebook and Twitter.

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