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The Telegraph - Technology News - Monday 20 January 2014

At Hove Park School, every child is now equipped with an iPad. The headteacher tells Matt Warman they've made a vital difference.

Can a tablet really help a school child to get better grades? The growing consensus among teachers seems to be that they can, and at this week’s annual London education show, BETT, there will be a plethora of apps, suggestions and case studies on how technology can improve a child’s lot.

One of those case studies, however, sticks out: Derek Trimmer will give a presentation about his experience of taking over at Hove Park School in Sussex, and quickly making it one of the few where every child is now equipped with an iPad.

Trimmer’s is not a scientific study, but it’s the story of a school that is the second most improved school in the south east, and the 12th in the whole country. Since taking over in 2011, each child has either bought or been given an iPad, which they are told from day one is theirs to keep. Trimmer says it’s changed both the children’s and the teachers’ performance.

“We needed a vehicle that would level the playing fields for disadvantaged children,” says Trimmer. “You’d see children losing it 30 to 40 per cent of the lesson – the iPad offers the opportunity to stay engaged. But the thing that got us excited was the impact of taking work home and sharing it and engaging with parents.”

The idea of using any tablet is in part about using clever, specific education apps, says Trimmer, but much of the success comes from updating old-fashioned ideas allowing teachers to encourage children to get their parents more involved in their education. “Even the most simple applications – the camera, taking photos of their work – meant there was a real pride which meant parents were really engaged in it,” he says.

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