Our Blended Learning approach combines online educational materials and opportunities with traditional teaching methods.
Since September 2021 every student (Year 7 to 11) at The Priory School has access to their own Chromebook. We want to help build their digital resilience to enable them to learn independently, creatively, collaboratively and to communicate anywhere at any time.
Students learn in many different ways at both home and school. Embracing the use of technology allows learning to be increasingly engaging. Students will be able to take responsibility for their own learning, allowing the school to extend education far beyond the four walls of the classroom.
In 2018 we thoroughly investigated different 1:1 schemes at various schools and then tested a small pilot group in 2019. In September 2020 we began our own Blended Learning Chromebook roll-out, starting with Year 7, followed shortly by Year 11 and then Year 9. We completed our roll out to all students in September 2021 and this continues for September 2022. By negotiating closely with suppliers, selecting devices appropriate for all students, and running our scheme all in-house, we are pleased to offer one of the lowest cost 1:1 schemes in Hertfordshire, meaning our parents have been very supportive of the scheme.
As part of the scheme, each student will receive:
- A Chromebook device
- A durable and highly protective case
- Warranty cover and insurance cover for damage and theft
- A bundle of apps for use in school and at home
- Quality online filtering both in school and at home
- Technical support
- Student and parent training
The scheme is voluntary, but by keeping costs to a minimum and offering a number of different financial options it is our expectation that every student will buy into the scheme. Special provision will be made for those who choose not to join it to ensure no-one is disadvantaged.
The Priory School teaching staff are committed to developing opportunities to engage with new technologies so that devices support learning. Over the last 4 years our staff have taken part in professional development and training to embed opportunities for learning with Chromebooks and to develop their use of the G Suite for Education apps. We have our own Google Certified Educator Trainer (one of approximately 4,000 in the world) and 4 other members of staff currently trained at Google Educator Level 1, with more staff planning to take the exam this year.
In a recent survey of our students (Year 7s, 9s and 11s):
- 75% of students said they found their Chromebook really useful or couldn’t live without it for English, Maths and Science
- 25% of our Year 7s said they couldn’t live without it at home for homework
- 50% of students rated their Chromebook 9 or 10 (out of 10) when asked “I think the Chromebook helps me with my learning and education”. Only 6% rated it 5 or less.
- 35% of Year 11s use their Chromebooks for finishing school work, doing homework or revising at lunch some or most days.
“It’s useful at school for learning and I kind of like doing homework on it” – Year 7 student, April 2021
“I use it mostly to do homework and I think that it is a life saver” – Year 9 student, April 2021
“My biology book has been replaced by an online Google Slides that has been formatted by the teacher for every lesson for the next half term – this is very helpful and makes catching up on work very easy.” – Year 11 student, April 2021
Q: How will the device be used in the classroom?
The Chromebook will be a tool to support and enhance learning and promote creativity such as accessing Google documents and recording visual elements of learning, for example role play or experiments. We seek to equip all our students with the necessary skills and modes of thinking so that they will succeed in a constantly changing society.
Q: Will students still use pen and paper?
As they progress through the school, students will still be expected to write in lessons and we will continue to promote the development of ‘writing stamina’ to support internal and external exams. Students will be writing notes on paper, practising their handwriting, and will be expected to bring black pens and their other stationery to school.
Q: How can you ensure every student has access to a Chromebook?
We have worked hard to ensure that parents are offered the best possible price as we recognise that this is a significant financial commitment. By taking part in the scheme, we can offer our students access to purchase an appropriate device for learning, with a saving of £236 compared to the current retail price.
We are offering parents the opportunity to purchase the device upfront or on a low-cost monthly scheme (£11 a month) with 0% interest over two years. Free School Meal students have an opportunity to sign up to a repayment plan at a reduced price. We do not want any student to be at a disadvantage because of financial hardship, especially in the current climate, so please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to speak to us in confidence. Full details of our payment plan can be found in the Parent Pack below.
If you wish to opt out of the scheme, your child will need to collect a Chromebook from our ‘Chromebook Crèche’ in the library each morning before form and return it at the end of the school day. This will ensure all students are equally equipped for the duration of the school day.