We first introduced our 1:1 scheme to Year 7 parents at the welcome evening in the summer term when their children were in Year 6. We briefly introduced our aims and that all Year 7s would be provided with iPads for the Year to take home. We didn’t want to make the evening all about the iPads – it was their Year 6 Parents’ Evening and iPads were only a tiny part of what was to come for them in Year 7 (it is easy to forget this when you are the person thinking about iPads and the hundreds of issues/questions/problems associated with a deployment.) We had initially appointed some digital leaders from the Year 7 at the time to help with the evening and they performed a fantastic job being thrown in at the deep end signing up parents for a parental engagement session to be held in the first week back. (We put on four early afternoon and evening sessions.) For those parents who were not at the Year 6 evening, we posted an invitation to the parental engagement sessions and then followed these up with phone calls. We had great admin support for this stage of the launch and it is essential for the project to run smoothly.
At these sessions, we distributed the iPads, set up Apple IDs, covered some basic e-safety and explained to parents how everything would work. Involving the parents from the start was absolutely crucial. Amazingly, we had 99% parental attendance at the sessions. I believe this had a crucial wider impact in parental engagement for the school – subsequent parent consultation events for the this year group have had much higher attendance than previous Year 7 groups.
During the parental engagement sessions we got parents to sign our Acceptable Use Policy (adapted from De Ferrers Academy’s AUP – many thanks to Greg Hughes for that) then at the end collected all of the iPads in – the Year 7s were not going to be allowed to take them home immediately – that was a privilege to be earned!