All Year 9 and Year 10 students will be issued with a Microsoft Surface Pro device from September. This will ensure that all students have access to an appropriate lightweight device with a type-case keyboard, excellent digital inking, good battery life and, very importantly, a rubber-fitting case which is essential for day-to-day school use.
This device is subject to a regular usage charge, payments for which are taken on a termly basis over three years*. Having considered a variety of options, this scheme is the best choice because it allows us to provide insurance for the device^ built in which extends over the full three years. During this period, the device will be fully managed by the school by way of installed software and web filtering (with tighter filtering and teacher-view/lock control active during the school day when on site).
This method ensures students have access to a safe, secure and well-maintained device throughout their study. Parents have frequently told us that they would like this reassurance, not least because if a problem arises with their child’s allocated device, they will be able to drop it off to the school’s main ICT office for repair^. At the end of the three-year period, however, the device will be retained by the student (ownership transfers to the parent/carer) and the school management software layer will be fully removed at that point. Some students might then choose to continue use of the device as part of the Sixth Form BYOD scheme+.
Pricing, subject to final confirmation, will be as follows:
Termly usage charge (added to term bills): £131 inc. VAT, initial peripheral purchase (type case keyboard, digital pen, fitted protection case) and insurance of the main device^.
Usage payments will not be subject to any inflation during the three-year period, although the annual insurance element and VAT may be subject to change.
This scheme has been under planning since the start of this academic year, although events have necessitated an acceleration of its implementation by one academic year to September 2020. Instant access to reliable technology in lessons for all students will permit the school to further develop its blended approach to learning in which lessons can flexibly mix conventional (‘unplugged’) learning and digital content with much more efficient transition.
The scheme will also facilitate easier digital workflow in certain cases, reducing the weight of books that pupils are carrying and improving digital filing and organisation. As such, it will also be an essential device for hybrid school-learning & home-learning should Covid-19 disruption persist into the new academic year. In addition, students will benefit from further digital experience, confidence and skill development to stand them in good stead for the Sixth Form, higher education and the workplace. Training will be provided to students in their usage and safe-keeping at the start of the academic year.
The attached provides more details on the device together with some further details and FAQs. No action is required on the part of parents/carers in the meantime. The scheme will be rolled out centrally to all pupils in these year groups at the start of the academic year. For clarification, we are not issuing Lower School students with devices, whilst the Sixth Form remain on their ‘bring your own device’ scheme+.
Watch the film below for more details on our digital learning provision.
- How will device usage fit within the wider school wellbeing and usage rules?
We will shortly be publishing a web page with more extensive details
on the scheme including its meshing with existing Perse policies.
Windows comes with built-in night light software which can be scheduled or turned on manually and is useful for filtering blue light levels.
- How can lost devices/pens be restored to their owners?
Devices and pens will be labelled on issue with the device product ID also recorded. Middle School pupils must also step up to the extra responsibility required of them to look after their digital devices/equipment. Replacement pens (required) will be available to purchase from the ICT office priced around £35 each or these can be sourced separately.
- Is charging available around the site?
Some charging points are available in the school library for urgent usage, but devices must be brought to school fully charged in order to last the day. Some students may wish to purchase additional battery packs of the correct voltage. Further details will be provided.
- Will devices be used in every lesson?
No. Our approach remains one of blending the best of unplugged and digital learning. Some subjects will make more extensive use of digital workflow, but all subjects will benefit from quicker access to digital learning tools and web research when beneficial. As such, students must bring devices to all lessons.
- Can students bring their own device instead?
No. To ensure consistency, robustness, digital inking and the benefits
explained above, this will not be permitted except for rare cases where
learning support needs are not compatible with the school device.
- What will happen if a device is stolen, lost or damaged?
Students will notify the main ICT office, returning the device if they still have it. A claim will be made if necessary. A temporary device may be issued in the meantime. The insurance for the main device (not including peripherals) is included in the scheme, although an excess charge of £150 applies to keep the built-in insurance charges affordable.
- What training will be provided to students?
A training scheme will be conducted at the start of the academic year. It is important that students engage carefully with this and that they take all expected steps to safeguard and protect the device throughout the scheme.
- Can students install their own software?
No. It is important devices are kept streamlined for efficient school usage. Core software will be installed on all devices with a small app store of additional applications which students can activate if required for particular subjects.
- Can devices be used at home in the evenings?
Yes. Core web filtering will still be in place, although it will be less strict than the daytime policies. Devices on-site can be controlled/locked by teachers, but this is not the case when the device is off-site. As with all digital devices, we advise that parents only permit students to use them in public family spaces, not in bedrooms and not within an hour of going to bed.