Aim: To use iPads effectively for student progression and as a means to communicate the aims and objectives of schemes of work with students and parents.


Year 1: Current affairs website The Day was introduced to students via iPads, and in tutor times students engaged in wider reading and discussed the news quiz to answer collaboratively. English teachers used articles as preparation for IGCSE reading comprehension and as a basis for IGCSE coursework.

Year 2: The paperless classroom software Showbie was introduced to the department, allowing teachers to keep track of students’ progress as they redrafted their work. To create a reading culture within the school, students were given access to Accelerated Reader and Star Reading Tests on their iPads. Students’ success was celebrated via the academy newsletter and in regular reports to English teachers and form tutors. The data was used in parent/teacher meetings to encourage further reading at home as part of the Accelerated Reader programme.

Year 3: Success in the Accelerated Reader programme was rewarded through ‘vivo’ points, which gave students access to various rewards on their iPads. The iMLS library software was made available, allowing students to order library books and submit book reviews.

Evidence: Library data, Accelerated Reader growth reports.

Impact: Reading success rates on Accelerated Reader quizzes is now 61%, a growth on last year, with one student’s reading age rising from 11 to 15 years and 6 months. IGCSE results are currently at 80% A*-C. Use of the library’s fiction section has increased dramatically as students in Key Stage 3 are timetabled for weekly sessions, and there are now over 500 fiction items on loan. Using iTunes U has made collaborative planning more effective, and means that students do not miss out on lessons when absent as they can follow online postings and access class resources. There is a ‘buzz’ about the new online reward system, but it is still too early to measure its impact.

Reflections: A challenge has been rolling out the use of apps to help us plan and teach using iPads, rather than just using them as a means of researching topics. Staff take-up could be improved on but those who do use the apps are vociferous in their praise. It was challenging to get staff to actively engage with the data produced by growth reports and reading age reports, and students need to be carefully monitored to check they are accessing the right books for their reading age. When it works, it works brilliantly and results are impressive. It will be interesting to see whether Years 9, 10 and 11 will still use the library when they are not part of the Accelerated Reader programme.

Contact: Leanne Marsden,