20th January 2015

Within twenty minutes of crossing the River Thames at Dartford (North Bound) you will find yourself at Belmont Castle Academy. Situated in Grays, Essex, this inspirational and innovative school has been graded ‘good’ in its previous two Ofsted inspections, with increasing evidence of outstanding elements.

At the start of the Summer term 2014, the school spoke to London based IT technology supplier, Toucan Computing Ltd, to discuss the possibility of purchasing iPads for every year group. By the end of the term, Belmont Castle had purchased enough iPads to ensure that every year group had a set of 30, totaling over 240. In addition to which, every member of the teaching team was also provided with an iPad, to encourage them to try out apps from home and to plan work for the following week. In total this means the school has close to 300 iPads.

>When looking at different options on how to manage the iPads, Principal Mark Jones found the expert advice from the staff at Toucan a huge help in making the right decisions. Formed in 1996 by two ex-teachers, Toucan works solely in the education sector and the knowledge they have within this field is exceptionally in-depth and one of deep passion.

With so many iPads in the school, charging and storing them safely and securely was the next challenge. LapSafe® Products has worked with Toucan as a business partner for many years, supplying them with the innovative and high quality solutions and match their ethos for excellent customer service.

The UnoCart™ ‘Charge & Sync’ trolley offers safe storage, charging and synchronisation of tablets such as iPads and was the popular choice of trolley by the school. The UnoCart™ accommodates devices even in the largest of ruggedised cases including the Gripcase. Belmont Castle purchased seven UnoCart™ trolleys to accommodate their iPads throughout the school, each with a docking station that can be fixed to the wall and locked for extra security.

Three years ago the school introduced what many would regard as being a very innovative book focused curriculum, the key purpose of which being to develop a love of reading amongst their children. The curriculum is enriched in many ways; by offering children first-hand experiences wherever possible, through trips and visitors to the school and regular author visits. Two recent examples being Anthony Browne and Michael Rosen. The decision to purchase the iPads however, has really helped to enhance the curriculum even further and make learning more engaging and fun, for not only the children but also the teachers. In the words of one member of staff at the school, it has ‘opened up a whole new world for the pupils’.

Emma Sanderson, Lead for IT at Belmont Castle, who oversaw the roll out of the iPads explained, “The introduction of the iPads in the classroom has provided a wider opportunity for different teaching and learning methods. It has enabled us to provide the opportunity for children to access the curriculum in new and stimulating ways which is supporting our already very creative book based curriculum. The children have become very confident, quite quickly in the use of iPads and how they can be used to support in learning and progression.”

Toucan have supported our vision and assisted us throughout our process of implementing iPads into our school. Within the space of a few months, iPads had been sourced, bought, delivered, set up and introduced into the classroom. Toucan have always been there to answer any of our questions and dealt with any problems, both their technical and educational support has been exceptional.”

Emma also added, “We have found that the UnoCart™ ‘Charge and Sync’ trolleys are of high quality and offer ease of use, device and user safety, whilst keeping our iPads secure when not in use. This makes our iPads easily accessible for our students and meets all our needs.

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