The local authority has invested in the state-of-the-art devices to equip Stirling’s young people with the skills to thrive in an increasingly digital workplace and society and as part of its commitment to equal opportunities.
It also ensures the Council will be prepared to action contingency plans for a blended learning model, with pupils attending school on some days and learning at home on others, should this be required by the Scottish Government (the current guidance is for schools to return full-time in August).
All young people in S2 and S3 in Stirling schools already have access to a Chromebook as part of a Council initiative to supply technology in a rolling programme. This project has been in place since the start of 2018/19 session.
This continued and substantial investment by the Council, has recently been further supplemented with some funding from the Scottish Government’s Digital Inclusion Grant.
The local authority will now aim to roll out additional Chromebooks to all young people from P6 to S6, ensuring they have devices and, where needed, appropriate connectivity to access digital learning.
With the huge demand for laptops from schools across the UK due to the pandemic, the devices may not all be available for the resumption of school on August 12. While this will not have an impact on learning – given the latest Scottish Government guidance is for a return to full-time schooling in August – the Council’s Education Service is working hard to have the devices in classrooms as soon as is reasonably practicable.
Accelerated our plans
Convener of Stirling Council’s Children and Young People Committee, Cllr Susan McGill said: “The Council’s successful Chromebook initiative ensured we were a leading light in Scotland for digital learning before the current crisis.
“Since the closure of schools at the start of the pandemic, there has been a focus on increasing levels of digital inclusion to support learning and we have accelerated our plans to roll out these devices across our settings.
“Our significant investment in this modern, safe and reliable technology shows our commitment to ensuring our children and young people are equipped with the digital tools they need to succeed and achieve their potential.”
Infrastructure work to support the major expansion of digital provision is underway. All secondary schools will be upgraded by the end of August, with primary schools to follow shortly afterwards.
The Council will provide specialised support for each sector – secondary, primary and early learning - and will launch a new one-stop shop learning platform, jam-packed with digital learning resources that can be accessed by young people, teachers, parents and carers.
A wide range of supports
Vice Convener, Christine Simpson said: “We are looking forward to welcoming pupils back to school in August, and I am delighted all of our young people at secondary schools and P6 and P7 children will soon be able to benefit from enhanced learning opportunities through Chromebooks.
“A lot of hard work has gone on behind the scenes to secure these devices given the current demand and we are now ensuring the necessary infrastructure will be in place in all our schools to support their delivery.
“It is also important we offer pupils, parents, carers and staff a wide range of supports so they have the skills and confidence to maximise the new technology.”
More information and picture details:
For all the latest Stirling Council education updates during Coronavirus (COVID-19), including an FAQ on the reopening of schools and nurseries, please head here.
Picture shows pupils at Stirling HS using Chromebooks to support their learning.