Apple Distinguished School
We are very proud to be recognised once again as an Apple Distinguished School for 2022–2025 for our continued approach to evidence-informed use of technology within learning that supports students and teachers to develop innovative, creative and personalised learning experiences.
We want our children to be fully competent and confident users of technology, possessing a wide range of skills and knowledge that will provide them with equal opportunities to the 21st century workplace, despite their demographic.
Children are intrinsically motivated to ‘be just like Tim’, as we believe these traits fully prepare young people for the wider world. We want our children to develop these traits from the minute they set foot in our school; technology is a very powerful vehicle that facilitates us in being able to do this AND why children are given their own, personalised iPad on their very first day in our school. Children are expected to use their iPad as they would any other resource they would find in their pencil case.
School leadership ensures that the use of technology is at the heart of the curriculum. Leaders promote a culture of openness to new, innovative ideas and instil confidence in risk-taking so that those ideas are embraced and supported through the CPD offer at NOPA, recognised by the Teacher Development Trust Network Gold Award.
Technology enables learning to take place anywhere. Our flexible environments within school give children the freedom to learn as and how they want. We have most recently created a STEM Suite, Museum, Science Lab, Art Studio and Library (with its very own wardrobe to Narnia). iPads give us mobility to learn in these environments and leverages children to think harder, know and remember more. Our Virtual Learning Environment and our infrastructure of iPads allows for learning to continue at home, which has been essential in more recent times.
Staff are innovative users of technology who create content in a variety of formats; through the use of digital books, videos, shared via seesaw and YouTube, and Project Based Learning children are empowered to choose how they want to demonstrate their learning. Staff take the opportunity to explore new teaching and learning experiences; children, in most recent times, have attended virtual field trips to the zoo, and have taken full advantage of the use of VR and AR in times where we were unable to physically explore learning in a real world setting.
Technology provides powerful ways of communicating and linking with the wider community; this was especially evident throughout the global pandemic. We were able to live stream events such as our Christmas Fayre, as well as weekly celebration assemblies and provide informative videos for children and parents through the use of Keynote and iMovie. The school community also worked with the poet Matt Abbott to write, ‘Built on a Rainbow’, to share positivity and hope at times when this was hard to find.
At NOPA, we recognise the importance of ongoing reflection, review and development. Our culture of openness and sharing ensures Self Evaluation, on a whole school and personal level is fully embedded. We continually reflect on the challenges faced by the school community and adapt our practices in line with current educational research.
Our staff and students showcase the power of technology across the curriculum, which was magnified most recently throughout remote learning. We created over 1000 videos throughout the pandemic and were awarded, from National Online Safety, Safe Remote Education 2020-2021.
Our staff wellbeing survey ranks us in the top 5 primaries in one of the largest multi academy trusts in the UK for job satisfaction with one of the highest ratings for workload and professional support, included in this is the Apple Teacher portfolio alongside regular training sessions meaning that staff seamlessly integrate the use of technology into the delivery of the curriculum, ensuring that it is accessible to every child.
Moving forward, we endeavour to remain committed to our vision; we are currently working with a local charity ‘Tech Equal’, who are addressing the issue around digital poverty in our local area and are committed to providing our children with iPads, throughout their whole primary learning journey.
Our position as a Regional Training Centre is now part of Academies Enterprise Trust vision for excellence in Ed Tech. This means that not only will the ethos and expertise of applying Apple tech within education impact our local region, it will also extend beyond that in areas across the whole of the UK.
We have been engaging more than ever with educational research, particularly around how the brain works and leveraging high quality teaching strategies. We will be using iPad more to aid retrieval practice, dual-coding and what Doug Lemov calls ‘Ratio’. We will also continue to ‘digitise’ our teaching and curriculum resources.