Apple handpick Scottish Borders Council to lead digital approach to learning

The agreement will see almost every pupil in the region given an iPad. Credit: PA Images

Scottish Borders Council has been handpicked by tech giants Apple to lead the way in its classroom plans.

The council, which is one of Scotland's smallest education authorities, welcomed the offer to new digital approaches to learning.

The agreement will see almost every pupil in the region given an iPad.

The Inspire Academy in Tweedbank welcomed the first students to learn from Apple's IT experts.

Speaking with BBC Scotland, Scottish Borders Council director of education, Lesley Munro said: "It was a brave decision three years ago to roll-out iPads to our secondary pupils, and nobody could have foreseen where it would take us with this offer from Apple.

"Apple have embraced what we were doing here with professional learning and their support has allowed us to continue taking things forward to open our Inspire Academy.

"Every time I speak to our team behind the Inspire programme they excite me about where this can go, and with Apple's help, the sky is the limit.

"The digital world is changing and developing at a pace we have never seen before, and I genuinely believe the Scottish borders can become the world leader in digital learning."

Seven teachers, all based in the borders, have already graduated as Apple learning specialists and three schools have become Apple distinguished schools.

Leagh Douglas, Scottish Border Council's portfolio holder for education, said: "We have a world-leading company taking us by the hand on this exciting journey.

"People from Apple are willing to come across to the Borders as well as go online and educate our young people.

"Every pupil and teacher in the Borders now has access to this digital technology and digital expertise, and it has no boundaries."

The inspire learning programme has been led over the past three years by former teacher Catherine Thomson.

She believes that the link-up with Apple will provide local youngsters with the digital skills training required to improve their lives in the future, she said: "We ultimately want to improve outcomes for young people and making sure they have the digital skills they will need, with Apple's help, is a large part of that.

"The Inspire Academy is the next step for the programme, where other education authorities and businesses can come in and learn from what we are doing."

The inspire learning programme has already been rolled out to all secondary schools pupils, as well as, children in primary six and seven.

The scheme is entirely funded from the Scottish Borders Council's budget with it being an additional investment from what is already spent in education.

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