Staff FAQ

FAQ for Staff

What is the Empowered Learning project?

The Empowered Learning project is part of the City of Edinburgh Council’s ambitious and inclusive education strategy, Edinburgh Learns for Life. 39,000 iPads will be issued in a 1:1 roll-out thanks to a £17.6m boost to learning and teaching. The initial roll-out of iPads will begin later this year and continue until the end of 2022. The Empowered Learning project will:

  • provide an iPad to every school learner in Edinburgh from P6 to S6 and every teacher, as well as making shared iPads available for use in P1 to P5 and Early Years
  • provide more opportunities for learners to be creative and actively engaged in their learning, as well as allowing for effective teacher feedback in order to raise attainment
  • provide effective digital applications so learners have more ways to personalise and choose how they learn
  • significantly expand wireless connectivity in schools to ensure that the correct IT infrastructure is in place to support the programme
  • provide learners with a high-quality suite of digital learning tools, to allow them to work simultaneously and collaboratively in any learning environment. By putting our learners at the centre of digital technology, we can unlock their potential by developing essential skills which will prepare our learners for employment in an increasingly digital world.
  • provide a wide range of bespoke professional learning opportunities for teachers to help develop effective digital pedagogies

What is the rationale behind the Empowered Learning project?

Empowered Learning is aimed at providing fair and equal access to technology for all learners across the City of Edinburgh. It will ensure that all learners in P6 to S6 will have personal access to digital and online learning materials at home and in class. Giving learners an iPad, meets a key part of the 15 outcomes and actions from the Council’s three-year business plan ‘Our Future Council, Our Future City:’ ‘increasing attainment for all and reducing the poverty-related attainment gap.’ The 1:1 programme also reinforces our aim to becoming one of the world’s ‘smartest cities’. Last year Edinburgh was listed in the smart city of the year digital 100 shortlist following our recent work with CGI and other partners to enhance connectivity and embrace new technologies. In addition, the roll-out meets Article 29 (goals of education) for the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child which highlights the importance of developing every child’s personality, talents and abilities to the full. 


How is the delivery of the project being managed?

The project is a partnership between the City of Edinburgh Council and CGI, our ICT service provider. An Empowered Learning team will help administer the project; this is chaired by the Project Manager and Chief Executive.

Why iPads?

There are several reasons why we have chosen iPads as our core device for digital learning and teaching. The unit cost of an iPad is £249.80, which is comparable to good quality Chromebooks. We’ve also been using iPads in City of Edinburgh Council schools for over 8 years so lots of our teaching staff are familiar with using them. iPads are easy to use, fast, robust, has great battery life and provides access to an excellent range of educational tools. Previous research the City of Edinburgh Council conducted across multiple device platforms revealed deeper, more creative and more effective learning on the iPad. The iPad operating system also includes a wide range of accessibility features. This makes it an excellent device to help pupils with additional support needs work more independently and unlock learning. Lastly, from a technical and information security perspective, we have well developed policies and processes for our iPad management that comply with Cit of Edinburgh Council requirements. Any change of platform at this stage would require significant additional time and effort to achieve similar technical and information security compliance.

When are networks getting upgraded?

Network health checks are being carried out across all schools between now and the end of June. Upgrading work will then take place from August to December.

When will teachers and pupils get their iPads?

We’re currently in the process of agreeing a rollout schedule. It will start early in the new session and will be completed by December 2022 at the latest. More details on this will follow soon. It is likely we will deliver to teachers first, then secondary schools, then primary and special. 

How will I get support?

The Empowered Learning programme will provide bespoke professional learning to all school teaching staff who may use iPads. We envisage a blend of face to face (live or remote) support and access to a menu of asynchronous training materials for teachers. Schools have been asked to include an allocation of time within their working time agreements to support this.

How will pupil deployment work?

We will provide advice and support to your school in the weeks ahead of your deployment, to help you communicate with your school community and plan your launch.

What apps will be available?

The project will initially provide access to the full suite of Apple and Microsoft 365 apps plus 50 additional curricular apps. We’re currently reviewing app requests from each sector/subject area and will consult again to agree a finalised list.  There will be the facility to supplement this as the project progresses.

When will my school receive their iPads?

The roll-out will begin this academic session and will last until the end of 2022. You will receive notice when your school is to receive its iPads.

Are individual iPads really necessary?

The importance of digital technology in the learning environment was outlined by the Scottish Government in their 2016 publication “Enhancing Learning and Teaching Through the Use of Digital Technology: a digital learning and teaching strategy for Scotland”. By providing a personal iPad, we can fulfil our expectation as a local authority to deliver the vision for digital technology in education. Specific educational needs for learners can be met by using a 1:1 roll-out which will promote personal development, effective communication and help expand skillsets in preparation for the future.   

What can the iPad be used for in my class?

The iPad will come equipped with a suite of core apps designed for education. The specific details around their functionality can be provided to you during your training. In general, a 1:1 roll-out can improve teacher/student dialogue and feedback since learners will now have immediate access to an iPad. Increasing dialogue in this manner, will allow work to be shared quickly, in class or as part of homework. 

How much control do I have over my learners’ iPads?

All iPads will be controlled by a Mobile Device Management (MDM) software and have the Apple Classroom app installed. This will be supplemented by additional filtering software to provide browsing security.  This combination will give staff full control over the learners’ experience and allow mechanisms such as; freezing/ locking screens, remotely wiping iPads or viewing browsing history etc.  Controlling the iPad is necessary to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our learners as well as directing effective learning and teaching experiences. 

Will I have iPads to give to new learners at my school?

Yes, all learners will have access to an iPad.

Who will have an iPad?

All learners from P6 to S6 will have an individual iPad. Learners from P1 to P5 will have access to a shared iPad. All school teaching staff will have an iPad.

How will I access my iPad and its storage?

You will be given your own unique Managed Apple ID to access your iPad. Files and data can be held in Microsoft 365 or iCloud.

What other key learning platforms will I be able to use online?

Microsoft 365 will provide a coherent core platform for the delivery of learning and teaching.  There will be a range of appropriate apps available on the iPad to meet curricular needs.  In addition, learners and staff will be able to access a range of online learning tools where these have been approved for use.

Where do I access professional learning?

Bespoke professional learning will be available on myLearning Hub. An initial set of 10 courses are being developed and more courses will be developed in response to emerging needs.

What will happen if I move school within the City of Edinburgh Council?

You will need to return your iPad and its accessories. You will then be issued a replacement one by your new school.

What will happen if I leave the City of Edinburgh Council?

You must return your iPad and any accessories to your school.

How do I back up my iPad?

You should save all your files in M365 or iCloud.  This will ensure that your data is safe, secure and compliant

We will share further FAQs and more information on the programme in the coming weeks via email and on the web.

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