Blended Learning FAQs
Please ensure you have read the information booklet alongside these FAQs
Q: What are the benefits of Blended Learning?
A: Research shows improvements in student engagement, independent learning and collaboration. There are increased opportunities for personalisation of learning and extension of learning beyond the classroom.
Q: Why Chromebooks?
A: Chromebooks work seamlessly with G-Suite for Education, which is the backbone of our current use of ICT within the school. Chromebooks take less than 8 seconds to boot up, which means no learning time is lost. They have a long battery life, with the devices we are providing through Academia lasting up to 12 hours. The technology is simple, but allows for excellent collaboration between students and teachers, as well as peer to peer collaboration. They are compact and robust, with the school designed device having gone through military grade testing to ensure the best compatibility for school life.
Q: What are the benefits of buying the device through Academia?
A: By purchasing the CR1100, you will be buying a device that meets all the requirements set out by us as non-negotiable for a device. It has been engineered to withstand knocks, bumps, drops and spills without damage. For more information about the device you can visit the website here.
Q: My child already has a device; can they bring that in?
A: Devices purchased through other retailers are acceptable, however we have minimum requirements for these devices which are as follows.
- Minimum screen size of 11”
- Minimum storage capacity of 32GB
- Touch screen
- Forward and rear facing camera which can capture still images and video
Q: Can we order later than the deadline given?
A: This may be a possibility in the future, however the cut-off date we have been given for a September delivery is the date shared with parents.
Q: Where can I find more information about the finance plan?
A: More information about the finance plan provided through Deko is available here
Q: Is there financial support for those other than those in receipt of Pupil Premium?
A: There is no school payment plan on offer. However, there is an additional form for parents who require financial assistance with purchasing a device. This was emailed to all year 6 parents on Tuesday 5th April. This includes those students who currently receive Pupil Premium assistance, but also for those who are currently facing financial hardship and may be unable to access the finance
payment scheme provided through the Academia website. All applications will be assessed on a case by case basis by our Finance department. If you believe you qualify for this support, please complete the form and email firstname.lastname@example.org no later than 3pm on Monday 18th April.
Q: What is the cost of the 5-year insurance?
A: Previously we had advised parents the 5-year warranty would be added to portals, however following lengthy conversations with Academia’s insurer and the underwriters the extension to 5 years unfortunately isn’t an option. The commercials on a 5-year insurance cover for a chrome device would not have been advantageous to parents, with the cost of 5 year cover skyrocketing; parents paying almost the cost of a replacement device. We would encourage parents to explore options with their home insurance and bank accounts if they feel the need of a 5-year insurance.
Q: What are the details of the insurance?
A: Information about insurance and warranty provided by Academia can be found here
Q: Can we avoid the VAT if we purchase devices through the school?
A: We as a school are not purchasing the devices for students, the expectation is that parents
purchase the devices either through the Academia platform or an alternative retailer as long as it
meets the specification set out. Therefore, VAT will apply.
Q: What about theft or breakages?
A: Sturdy covers and school bags should be used. It should be noted that the loss, damage or breakage of a personal device is not covered under school insurance. As such, we highly recommend that devices are covered by insurance (check household policies before buying from a specialist such as protectyourbubble.com). Students are encouraged to store their devices in lockers, particularly
during lunchtimes and PE lessons.
Q: Our children already at the school were loaned a chrome book for home learning in lockdown due to lack of devices in the home. Is this something the school could accommodate again?
A: This is a different scheme which is a development of teaching and learning in the school. The scheme was a loan scheme to support children during online learning. This was partially funded by the DfE, which is no longer available. However, we may be able to support children in year 8-11 with devices at home if required, to support home learning only.
Q: Would you consider a trade-in on our existing device?
A: We are currently not planning any trade-ins for devices already owned.
Q: Will the device be expected in school every day?
A: Yes. Devices will be expected to be in school every day, fully charged to be used in lessons. Unless students are specifically asked to not bring devices in for an alternative learning experience, the assumption should be made that the devices should be in school.
Q: Do devices in the classroom mean less verbal communication and feedback in the lesson from the teacher?
A: All current feedback policies and practices remain in place. This includes, questioning, verbal feedback and explanation. The only difference being that comments may be uploaded to Google Classroom for home-based learning tasks, or comments left on tasks where devices are used.
Q: What about distractions?
A: This is a classroom management issue, to be dealt with in a similar way to doodling or staring out the window. We will have an additional consequence to deal with misuse of devices in lessons, and teachers will have the full discretion to require students to put the devices away. Mobile phones must not be used during school time and notifications from social media are blocked by the school
Q: What about eSafety?
A: All students will be required to use the school filtered internet (3G/4G/5G must be switched off during normal school times). Access to social networking will be blocked. All students will need to sign an Acceptable Use Policy that governs appropriate use of the devices and breaches of this will be dealt with using the school Consequences system.
Q: How will they be used in the classroom?
A: Students may be asked to conduct a piece of independent learning through research or consolidation work. Students may also be asked to collaborate on a piece of work located in a central point on the Google Drive; teachers will then be able to track the work completed by each student. This is an especially good technique for pair and group work. We are continuing to build our
teaching and learning resources to make sure we will make the most of devices in the classroom where appropriate. Devices will be used in a number of appropriate ways; however, some lessons may not use devices at all.
Q: When a child is without a laptop, what happens?
A: This depends on why the child does not have a laptop. If the device is being repaired and there is no appropriate alternative, students will be provided with a loan device on a temporary basis. However, this device will need to be returned at the end of the day and will not be allowed to go home. If a child simply has forgotten their device, they will be issued a consequence in line with the behaviour policy, however they will also be loaded a device for the day.
Q: How will devices be used to support more able students and those that need additional support?
A: As we build our library of resources and teaching techniques, our ability to support and enable all students will grow. Currently we would use devices to adapt to the needs of students with additional needs by providing additional and more supportive materials and software in order for them to access content and curriculum. More able students would be supported in a similar way, to broaden
their knowledge and skills in certain topics that would be a part of the current point of their scheme of learning.
Q: My child already spends enough time on their device! Won’t their written work suffer?
A: Ridgeway Academy is committed to developing student’s literacy, numeracy and writing/speaking skills. It is a fact that most exams are still written, and certain work will be required to be handwritten. Teachers may decide not to use the devices in certain lessons or not at all if no relevant learning opportunity exists to use the technology. However, the devices will allow access to the wealth of online learning resources and result in a powerful, blended learning approach.
Q: Will lockers be provided?
A: From September new lockers, specifically for year 7 will be available for storing devices. More information will follow during the induction period.
Q: What happens after 3 years? With technological development will they need new laptops for year 10?
A: The devices provided by ASUS through the school are specifically designed with education in mind. Providing they are looked after well, they can last the duration of the time the child is at school. We see no need for a change of device in 3 years unless parents wish to do so.
Q: How much do Ridgeway Academy make from working with Academia?
A: Nothing, this is purely non-profit for Ridgeway, and also no risk to school finances as parents are responsible for purchasing the devices. When going to tender over 3rd party providers, Academia were the most transparent in their costs and were willing to work directly with ASUS to provide the specially designed devices for our trust.