Hove Park School

iPads were introduced to ensure that all students had equal access to the internet, and to help them become "21st-century learners" using mobile tablet technology. Explore Hove Park School's results in this TechKnowledge case study to find out what they experienced and what they learned.

Contact name: Derek Trimmer, Head Teacher

School Profile

This profile is taken from a questionnaire which was sent to all 21 schools taking part in the Techknowledge for Schools research in July 2013. Unless otherwise stated, all figures in this case study represent the school cohort at that time.

Hove Park School is located in Hove, East Sussex, and has a total of 1,595 pupils. 16% of pupils are eligible for free school meals, and 302 pupils have SEN. 65% of pupils achieved five A*–C at GCSE (2013), including English and Maths. The school is Grade 2 Ofsted rated. The school has a Sixth Form.

Current Head Teacher Mr Derek Trimmer was appointed in 2011 and has since achieved significant improvements to behaviour and academic achievements at Hove Park School.

Tablet introduction

Hove Park School introduced iPad Tablets to all pupils in Years 7–13 during summer term 2012. Pupils have been offered the choice of an iPad 2, iPad 4 or iPad Mini. The preparation process was estimated to have taken approximately seven months.

The Tablets were financed via a blended approach of school funding and parental contributions. Parents and pupils were given the option of using a family-owned device (with the option of purchasing a device directly from the school) or a school-owned device by paying a monthly parental contribution over either one or two years, after which the device will become family-owned. The school-owned Tablets were financed partly through the school’s Pupil Premium funds.

The parental contribution fee and timeframe varies depending on which device the pupil has opted for. The monthly fee varies from £12.40 to £17.29. Teachers were provided with Tablets free of charge.

At the time of introduction the school’s wifi system offered only patchy coverage across the school and required more transmitters to ensure seamless coverage. The school upgraded its wireless network to support the introduction of one-to-one Tablets, at a total cost of £88,200 (one-off payment). The school worked with the local education authority to procure an upgraded system. A Mobile Device Management server (Lightspeed) was purchased at a cost of £5,750. The Mobile Device Management and filtering cost is £10,000 per annum. Before the introduction of the Tablets the school also invested in apps at a total cost of £32,000.

The computer-to-pupil ratio before the introduction of Tablets was 1:5. Since the introduction of Tablets the school has discontinued some of the older classroom computers.

Hove Park School has experienced breakages at the rate of 1.6%. The school insists on either a Griffin Survivor or TeckNet protective case. The school has decided to self-insure the devices. This has cost the school £5,500. The school encourages parents to take out insurance on family-owned devices. Insurance is included in the parental contribution fee for the school-owned devices at a cost to parents of £25 per annum.

The prospect of the Tablets acting as a source of distraction was identified as a potential risk at the beginning of the Tablet scheme but these concerns did not materialise. The use of Tablets during break time was thought to have decreased as the initial excitement wore off. It was argued that:

Behaviour statistics for the first term show sanctions have decreased to one third of their previous level. Focus and engagement have significantly improved.

The reasons for adopting one-to-one Tablets were:

  • to ensure equality of access to the internet
  • to prepare pupils for working/living in a digital age
  • to support self-led research and problem solving
  • to transform learning

Professional development

The school offered professional development to all staff before Tablets were introduced, during the period of transition, and during the time since deployment. The training was organised both internally and externally and focused on both technical advice and support for staff in using the Tablets in lessons. This was felt to be of very high priority in the school.

External guidance

The school required external guidance on financial issues, insurance, wifi and protective cases. For queries around financial issues the school approached their local authority, Brighton and Hove City Council. The local authority as well as commercial stakeholders were approached for matters relating to insurance and wifi. The school approached a variety of resellers of protective cases for advice.

Perceived benefits of using one-to-one Tablets in education

Significant improvements to independent learning, group work, feedback, engagement and sharing with parents.

Perceived disadvantages/pitfalls of using one-to-one Tablets in education

The school argues that although there were challenges they would not describe anything as a disadvantage of using one-to-one Tablets.

The biggest surprise about the use of one-to-one Tablets after they were introduced

The overwhelming support of parents and the speed of the transformation within the classroom.

What did you wish you had known before introducing the Tablets?

Which schools were doing the most innovative and interesting work. The importance of working with pilot schools cannot be overstated.

Case Study

This case study is taken from a visit to the school on Monday 20 May 2013, during which discussion with the leadership team and observation of classroom use of the Tablet devices took place.

Introducing Tablets

The introduction of Tablets was seen as integral to the changes the Head Teacher Mr Trimmer was introducing to the school to improve teaching and learning. Mr Trimmer first focused on building a strong teaching staff and recruited new teachers. Central to his vision was the ambition to encourage creative and independent learning for all pupils at Hove Park School, and significant changes were made to the pedagogy in the school to achieve this. The introduction of Tablets worked hand-in-hand with these changes in teaching style and content. Mr Trimmer also wanted to supply pupils with a personal learning device in order to support their progress to become ‘21st- century learners’. Increased access to technology that is seamlessly integrated into learning was considered to be essential to build these skills. Providing each pupil with a personal learning device was meant to allow them to work independently and according to their own needs, with the teacher facilitating the learning.

iPads were at the time of introduction considered the best available option in terms of both hardware and software. Pupils were given a choice within the Apple family of Tablets. Many have chosen the iPad Mini, while others wanted the most up-to-date iPad 4. Although offering choice has proved to be an administrative challenge, the leadership team argued that choice has been crucial to securing parent and pupil commitment.

Hove Park School worked closely with Apple reseller JTRS. JTRS delivered a number of key tasks for introducing the Tablets, including designing an online Tablets portal, where parents can purchase a Tablet or learn more about their use in teaching. JTRS also participated in providing staff training.

Based on their experience, Hove Park School offers its consulting services to other schools interested in making similar investments. Schools can also book visits to Hove Park School which include a one-day workshop covering areas such as management of the introduction process, use in the classroom, core apps and observations of pupil learning. The school is currently working in partnership with a variety of schools, ranging from junior schools to universities, collaborating on the use of Tablets in learning.


The school purchased a core set of apps for the Tablets. As the school purchased these in bulk, they were offered a 50% discounted cost. Total cost per device for this package of apps was £20.

Hove Park School has made extensive use of Edmodo in order to organise lessons, collaborate, share content, and access homework. Dropbox is also used for the virtual storage of school work and lessons. The leadership team at Hove Park School has worked with Apple reseller JTRS to develop lesson materials for iTunes U.

Safety and breakages

In order to avoid breakages the school has developed a clear policy on cases. This states that iPads should always be within the protective case when carried. Some bags/rucksacks hold other objects (such as folders and workbooks); these must be kept to a minimum to avoid placing too much pressure and weight on the screen.


Tablets were introduced to a group of teachers and pupils between October and February to trial and for these to act as ‘torchbearers’. Beyond this the school has a dedicated member of staff, known as a device manager, who deals with purchase issues and breakages.


The Head Teacher and the Deputy Head Teacher at Hove Park School identified the following recommendations for schools interested in introducing one-to-one Tablets:

  • Secure the commitment of the Senior Management Team. If the responsibility lies with IT, it is likely to falter and ultimately fail:

It will die if you leave it in IT, it must be central to the school’s vision.

  • Appoint a launch partner: a number of organisations took part in a competitive procurement process; in Hove Park School’s case JTRS secured the position. It was argued that:

They shared our vision for the changes we are making to the school’s pedagogy. They offered additional knowledge.

  • Form a Digital Leader Group. At Hove Park School a member from each subject department took part in the Digital Leader Group. The aim of this team was to cascade the launch of the Tablets across the school.

Do not underestimate the need for ongoing support. Staff are supported with weekly peer training workshops at Hove Park School.

  • Make sure parents come on board early. The benefits of one-to-one Tablets must be sold to them.
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