Guillemont Junior School
Nicola Dobby | ICT Coordinator

The first two things you notice at Guillemont Junior School in Cove, Hampshire, are that the kids are not only able to express their individuality by wearing their own choice of clothes, they’re also expressing themselves on the 32 rockdirect Pegasus CTS notebooks that are the talk of the playground.

rockdirect’s Andrew Houghton has worked with the ICT team at Guillemont from the start. “While setting up we were in contact a lot”, says the team’s Roger Blackburn, “which made it so much easier. We dealt with Andrew direct, not a different person every time”.

Following a day of internal staff training conducted by Roger, all subjects on the curriculum are being structured around using the machines and teachers are finding that pre-booking of the two Bretford trolleys – each holding 16 charging notebooks and wireless access point – is vital.

The wireless access point means that setting up and ending classes is a painless process – “there’s no wires to trip up on”, chipped in one eager young surfer, intently scrolling down a page of search engine results – and the children are given the task of managing this to encourage responsibility for this new technology. Guillemont-approved websites give the children the chance to navigate the Internet to help with learning, for example the BBC’s education site.

Guillemont’s management of technology has won the school a coveted Naacemark, which recognises a school’s success in developing and implementing a strategic approach to ICT for teaching and learning. A target ratio of 7:1 pupils to machines is a requirement of the Naacemark which Guillemont has surpassed, currently operating at 5:1. The two portable classrooms offer a 1:1 option which is a huge advantage. A recent mathematics class used spreadsheet, graphics, wordprocessing and publishing packages to produce a fantastic booklet that was also uploaded to each child’s homefile area on the server, protected by a login facility.

The notebooks get heavy usage, five days a week. Nicola Dobby, ICT Coordinator, says “We’ve got 7 hour batteries. We’ve had the notebooks on and being used all day yet they only start to flag right at the end of the day; that said, they charge really fast anyway. Plus, the battery is the perfect size for the younger children to hold onto when they’re moving the notebooks about!”.

So what does the future hold for pioneering Guillemont’s staff and students? A third trolley is on the way and Head Teacher Barbara Cook is keen to maximise the use of the investment – “the kids respect our notebooks so we’re thinking of making them available at lunchtime for personal use and additional learning time”. One child views it slightly more simply, “they’re much better than writing”, before eagerly returning to the online job at hand!

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