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Sir William Ramsay School

Empowering Everyone to Achieve

Frequently Asked Questions

When does this programme start, and which year groups does it affect?

Our programme will be rolling out in a phased way from early 2022 to Key Stage 3 year groups.

Why can’t laptop devices for every student be purchased by the school?

We would love to fund the purchasing of devices, unfortunately the school budget is not adequate to cover the cost of devices for every learner at SWR.

The School are investing heavily (over £100k) in the technical ecosystem required to make this programme a success, as well as working with teachers and students to ensure proper and effective use of devices.

We are working with a specialist education leasing partner to ensure as much flexibility as possible and are committed to doing what we can to make the scheme fair and equitable.

What if I cannot afford to participate in the device scheme for my child?

We are committed to take every step possible to ensure that our device scheme is equitable so that no student is disadvantaged in any way.

If you have any concerns about the affordability of the programme we will ensure there is an opportunity before the programme launches for you to discuss this with us. We will treat each case with consideration and discretion to ensure an equitable scheme.

 Is my child eligible for a 'free' device provided by the school?

 The Governing Body have committed to purchasing a device for all students who are eligible for Pupil Premium Funding. This includes all students who are eligible for free school meals or have been eligible in the last 6 years, students who have been adopted from care or have left care and children who are looked after by the local authority.

What if I have more than one child at the school?

The school appreciates that supporting devices for more than one child at the school can be challenging. We are committed to supporting students and their families with flexibility in payments to ensure affordability and equitability across the entire school community.

We appreciate that families with multiple students in school may find it more difficult to adopt the device purchasing scheme. If you feel this affects you, we will ensure there is an opportunity before the programme launches for you to discuss this with us. We are committed to ensure the programme is accessible and equitable to all, regardless of circumstances.

I have just bought my child a new laptop, can they use this rather than needing to purchase another one from the school?

The school will provide a minimum specification for devices and software to support learning and providing the device meets these requirements then these devices may be used.  However, there will be no school provided technical support may be limited and it will remain the full responsibility of the student/parents/carers.  Whereas a device through our scheme will include technical support, insurance cover, warranty and repairs.

What if I have no internet at home or poor connectivity?

For families with low/poor internet connectivity or no access to internet at home, please come forward and discuss with the School.

There are a number of government support schemes for internet/connectivity at home to support learning.  The school IT Support Team will be more than happy to provide help and guidance on these schemes as well as general connectivity technical questions.

How are the school supporting this programme to ensure devices are effectively used and worth the investment?

We have planned a 12-month programme of investment in our school network infrastructure, including a complete refresh of the school Wi-Fi hardware, to ensure a fully connected school and pave the way for the next 5-10 years of digital learning at SWR.

Our school leadership and IT teams have carefully planned the programme, with the support of experienced external partners. We are also investing in ongoing Continuing Professional Development for our teachers and support staff to ensure a smooth roll out and effective use of technology.

What laptop device options will be made available?

The school will be working in collaboration with leading hardware manufacturers (HP, Fujitsu, Dell etc) to choose a laptop device specifically designed for learning and parental leasing schemes.

How will you ensure my child cannot access inappropriate or unsafe content on the internet?

While at school and connected to the school Wi-Fi / internet, the School will adopt internet filtering tools to manage access to safe and appropriate content. Our ongoing programme of digital safeguarding advice, guidance and support will continue to promote responsible use of technology for all learners. Our goal will be to educate students on the safe and appropriate use of technology at home and outside of the school environment.

Can my child use their device for personal things when at home, such as web browsing, gaming and social media?

We want students to feel ownership and responsibility for their devices. Students can use their device for personal use while at home. An acceptable use policy co-constructed with the students will be in place to protect both the integrity and security of the devices during their use at SWR. Our programme will also promote and encourage digital citizenship. Rather than imposing restrictive, ‘top-down’ controls, we will take an approach based on education and guidance to promote proper, responsible use.

Why does it cost more to pay by instalments than paying the one-off upfront payment?

By paying in monthly instalments there is a cost to transact the direct debit each month and an additional finance cost over the term of the agreement.  With either option there is a large saving versus the high street cash price. With the instalment option, the saving is larger when compared with high street consumer credit options.  When spreading the cost over time there is no credit check requirement with this scheme.

SWR Digital Learning Parent Evening :

What happens to the device when my child is at lunch, in PE or an after-school club? Will there be somewhere secure where students can store them?

Students are required to keep their school bag with them throughout the school day and this will not change. During PE lessons, bags are locked away in the changing rooms.

Parents can choose to buy a locker for their child through Independent Locker Solutions and this would allow them to secure device away during lunch, etc should they not want to keep it on them.

My child already has a personal device, can’t they just use that for learning at SWR?

We understand that some students already have a device at home and parents will be reluctant or unable to afford to buy them another device. Students will be allowed to bring their own device (purchased outside of the Learning Device Scheme) to school but in order for it to meet the needs of their learning at SWR it MUST be a portable laptop PC running Microsoft Windows 10. The device must also meet the ‘Minimum Device Specification’ below, as well as being of a suitable style, weight, size for students to carry around all day. Requests to submit your device for BYOD will be addressed on a case by case basis by the school Digital Leaders Team.
 Please complete this form if you would like your child to bring their own device:
Please note that the school will reserve the right to decide if your device is suitable to use as a BYOD device for learning. This decision is at the scrutiny of SWR to ensure that both learners, parents and teachers best interests are considered. We appreciate your understanding.
A note on equality - It is crucial that we remain conscious of the ways BYOD may magnify any inequality among our school community, amplify bullying triggers and set in place or reinforce harmful narratives.
A note on insurance and support – It is important that parents understand that BYOD devices will NOT be covered by the schools insurance for loss or damage incurred whilst on the school site. The school ICT Team will not be able to provide any technical support for BYOD devices nor will they be able to issue a loan device whilst a BYOD device is being repaired etc.
Minimum Device Specification:
  • Device Type: Portable Laptop / Hybrid Notebook
  • Operating System Required: MicrosoftWindows 10
  • Display size: 12 inch – 15 inch
  • Min Display Resolution: 1024x768 pixels
  • Min Processor: Dual Core
  • Min RAM: 4GB
  • Min Storage Capacity: 64GB Hard Drive or SSD (with minimum 32GB free space available
  • Must have built-in speakers
  • Must have built-in microphone suitable for video calling
  • Must have built-in user-facing camera suitable for video calling

What software will be included on the device, and who pays for and supports this software?

All software required on learner devices will be licensed, installed and supported by the school. Our strategy for selecting software will be ‘cloud first’, to provide easy access from any device and reduce the need for installing and updating software on learner devices as much as possible.

Our Staff Digital Leaders Team, will work to determine a list of required software, mapped to each curricular area.  The core software on all laptops will be the Microsoft Office 365 education suite, including Microsoft Teams, OneNote, OneDrive, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.

How will ‘screen time’ be managed in lessons and at home?

It’s important to us that all learners develop an awareness of screen time and the impacts of prolonged use of technology as part of their education at Sir William Ramsay.

Our Staff Digital Leaders and Student Digital Ambassadors will be working to provide a programme of education, advice and guidance to help learners become more aware of their mental wellbeing and use technology responsibility both in and out of school.

With all this focus on technology, I'm worried that devices will end up being used all the time in class and replace teaching?

This is something that is very important to us. Our goal is to ensure that technology is adding value to learning experiences and not to shoehorn technology into learning where it’s not appropriate.

We are not aiming to digitise our entire curriculum, and although technology can transform learning when used effectively, we believe it will never replace books, pen, paper, and above all – great quality teaching.

How will learners with additional needs be supported?

Inclusivity and equitability is of upmost importance to us on this journey.

All teaching and support staff will be receiving CPD to help them identify where technology can enhance and support learners with additional needs and ensure inclusive learning experience.

What we envisage is for technology to add even greater value in this area, further enabling and empowering learners with additional needs.

Will we own the device at the end of the 3 years?

As the buyer of your device, you will own it at the end of your contribution payment term (i.e. 3 years)

If your device is still fit for purpose at the end of this period, you can carry on using it, or there will be an option to engage with the scheme again to purchase a new device and recycle your old device.

What type of device will the school choose?

The school is evaluating a number of leading hardware manufacturers (HP, Dell, Fijitsu, Acer etc,) education specific devices against the curriculum and learning needs. Rest assured the device chosen will be designed to fully support your child’s learning journey at SWR.

Students are currently not allowed mobile phones in class - the new digital strategy appears to contradict this?

Our new digital strategy is designed to enhance and deliver the curriculum with specific technology devices, tools and services that have been evaluated and embedded successfully into the teaching and learning culture at SWR to ensure every child reaches their learning potential.

Mobile phones have been evaluated against the criteria of our digital strategy and at this stage the school does not feel they meet the required teaching and learning needs.