Pupils ‘inspired’ by Council’s multi-million pound digital learning investment 

Group of pupils with iPad's standing outside school building

Published: Thursday, 28th February 2019

Pupils at Earlston High School have experienced how their learning, and that of children and young people across the whole Scottish Borders will soon be transformed by our Inspire Learning programme.

As part of the budget agreed today, we will invest £16million over a ten year period in a world-class digital learning environment in Scottish Borders schools starting in 2019/20.

A group of pupils at Earlston High School got the opportunity for a hands-on demonstration this afternoon.

Inspire Learning Programme

The ‘Inspire Learning’ programme will transform learning and teaching across the Borders for the benefit of all children and young people and teachers. It aims to:

  • raise attainment
  • support equity and inclusion
  • prepare young people for a digital future  

A key part of Inspire Learning will see CGI train and support teachers on how to use the world-class technology available to them, ensuring a uniform delivery of learning for pupils across the schools and giving them all an equal opportunity to learn in this ground-breaking programme.

Digital Learning Strategy

The programme is a key part of our Digital Learning Strategy and supports the requirements as set out in the Scottish Government’s national strategy for education, which now places Digital Learning as a priority for schools and a core skill across learning.

The programme will be rolled out from 2019/20, and is expected to take around two years to fully implement.

Partnership project

Along with ourselves, the project has been developed by a partnership:

  • global IT 
  • business consulting firm CGI
  •  IT solutions provider XMA
  • Apple

The Inspire Learning programme also builds on the long-term relationship between ourselves and CGI which began three years ago and sees CGI provide transformational IT to enable the introduction of integrated digital services.

Information on the Inspire Learning programme, including FAQs, can be found on our website.

Councillor Carol Hamilton, Executive Member for Children and Young People

“Today was about giving pupils and teachers a chance to experience for themselves what will soon be rolled out across all our schools in the Borders. I am absolutely delighted to see how excited everyone is about this programme which really does put children and young people at the heart of education.

“The Scottish Borders’ economy is heavily focused on tourism and agriculture. In both of these key sectors the impact and growth of technology is exponential. The Inspire Learning programme is not about handing iPads to children and young people, it is about equipping them with the skills and knowledge to succeed in a future that is becoming increasingly digital in all sectors of the economy, including those traditional ones in the Scottish Borders.

“Our children and young people deserve to learn in the best possible facilities with world-class technology available to them. Not only that, we want to retain and attract more inspirational teachers who will lead education delivery for the 21st century in our schools. This programme is about both investing in our children and young people and our teachers to maximise the potential learning opportunities in the Scottish Borders.

“Not only does the programme open up the opportunity for pupils to learn in new and exciting ways, it also brings with it a raft of wider benefits including extra support and professional development opportunities for teachers, expansion of Wifi to provide fast and reliable internet access in every school, and the roll out of flexible audio visual learning spaces through equipping classrooms with wireless and efficient technology.”

Councillor Shona Haslam, Council Leader

 “The Scottish Borders has skills gaps and skills drain away from the area. The Inspire Learning programme, alongside other key projects such as the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal, South of Scotland Enterprise and Borderlands Inclusive Growth deal all have skills and learning threads through them that will help address those issues.

“Importantly, these other major regional projects have the potential to generate significant inward investment into the Scottish Borders, bringing new businesses and employment opportunities here. The Inspire Learning programme will go some way to ensuring that we are developing a young workforce that will be able to make the most of these new opportunities, and not only that, that will in itself help to attract businesses to the Borders.”

Tracey Logan, SBC Chief Executive

“Inspire Learning is not just an investment in the future of our children and young people, a key element of this is to provide teachers with a wide range of personal development opportunities and tools to allow them to take teaching and learning in the Borders to a whole new level. The programme will support the great work they already do in all our schools but give them the digital tools, skills and confidence to help raise attainment, close the attainment gap and create a culture of curiosity, innovation and creativity among pupils.”

Steve Smart, Senior Vice President for CGI in Scotland

“CGI is proud to be part of Scottish Borders Council’s multi-million pound Inspire Learning programme which will have a hugely positive impact on every child educated in the region. 

“It means every pupil from P6 to S6 will get an iPad and every child from P1 to P5 will have access to an iPad on a 1:5 ratio – giving them equal access to a transformative digital learning experience which will also benefit teachers and communities.

“At a time when Scotland needs more highly-qualified workers to meet a growing skills shortage in the digital economy, this programme will be of huge long-term value to the Borders and the country as a whole.”

Steven Robertson, Business Unit Director Scotland at XMA

 “It’s an exciting time to be a pupil or a teacher in the Borders and this project addresses the nationwide challenge of attainment, pupil equity and the digital skills gap.  As the National Framework provider for Scottish Procurement, XMA are delighted to be partnering with CGI, Apple and SBC to help deliver this truly transformational project.”

Further Information

Photos from the event at Earlston High can be viewed/downloaded from our Flickr page.

Our Budget was agreed today at the full Council meeting. View the full papers.

As well as investment in the Inspire Learning programme, we have agreed significant investment in new schools including:

  • £16m for the replacement of Eyemouth Primary School
  • £9m for a new Earlston Primary School
  • Funding for the replacement of Galashiels Academy
  • and the acceleration of a new Hawick High School

The Scottish Government has published information on the impact of digital technology on learning and teaching.