Roll-out of iPads for Falkirk pupils aims to be complete by November

Nearly two-thirds of pupils in Falkirk schools, from P6 upwards, have now been given their own iPads to use at school and home.

By Kirsty Paterson, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Tuesday, 21st September 2021, 3:46 pm

Members of Falkirk Council’s Education, Children and Young People executive heard that the roll-out has been hampered by delays – mainly caused by Covid – and would now be complete by November, rather than the target date of August.

Head of education David Mackay said the team behind the project were working hard to make sure the new deadline would be met for all 22,000 young people and 2,500 staff.

The roll-out is part of a £9.6 million capital investment and while all of the devices have now been bought, setting them up has not been as straightforward as it should have been.

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Nearly two-thirds of pupils in Falkirk schools, from P6 upwards, have now been given their own iPads

Mr Mackay explained that the iPads are handed out and set up for each pupil individually – and while primary schools were working in bubbles there was a limit to how many sessions the team could do.

Working around senior pupils sitting SQA assessments in secondary schools also had a knock-on effect.

According to the report, there was also a worldwide technical failure of the device management system used to build the devices, which meant several deployments in large schools had to be postponed.

The primary teachers’ representative, John Chalmers, said he and colleagues had found the delay frustrating and they were really looking forward to getting the devices and starting to use them.

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However, the committee heard that despite the delays lots of progress has been made and of the 58 school sites covered in the Connected Falkirk programme, 56 schools now have their new Internet lines and Wi-Fi in use.

The two remaining, Comely Park Primary and Dumbowie Primary, have been delayed but they now have Wi-Fi access points fitted and new internet lines should have been completed by the end of September.

A thousand Apple TV devices have also been procured at a cost of £350,000 and they should all be installed by December, the report says.

These will mean that pupils and staff can wirelessly connect to the class display screen from wherever they are in the room.

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