We’re were honoured to be recognised again as an Apple Distinguished School for 2021–2024 for our integration of iPad, online tools and digital books across the curriculum.

Apple Distinguished Schools are centres of innovation, leadership, and educational excellence. They use Apple technology to connect students to the world, fuel creativity, deepen collaboration, and make learning personal.

The Academy was part of the Apple Distinguished School Programme from 2015-2017 and was reselected as an  Apple Distinguished School from 2018 to 2020 and again from 2021 to 2024. It became an Apple Regional Training Centre (RTC) in 2013 and one of our trainers is also part of the Apple RTC Advisory Board..


 We introduced iPad as an ‘equaliser’ to ensure all students had access to modern learning tools and identical opportunities to make progress, whatever their circumstances, with learning and inclusivity at the heart of our vision. Through a handful of transformational apps and regular, hands-on CPD, we have used iPad to ‘supercharge’ the crucial elements of Teaching & Learning to impact upon student outcomes. Embedding this in our learning cycle ensures it becomes part of everyday protocols/expectations. Over the last 3 years, The de Ferrers Academy has been the strategic leader for the Trust-wide 1:1 iPad programme across 2 other secondary schools, allowing greater sharing of resources and teaching approaches.


All teachers, teaching assistants, technicians, student teachers on placement are given Pad as their main device for creativity and productivity. Using Showbie & Google Classroom as the main digital workflow tools allows students to use a wide variety of other tools to produce creative artefacts for explaining ideas and demonstrating knowledge, whether mobile Photoshop collages in Art, conceptual keynotes decks in English Literature, audio recordings in MFL or student-curated books in Child Development.

The academy invested heavily in developing a new 4-part learning cycle and all staff receive extensive CPD in how to adapt key approaches and pedagogies to teaching & learning, using iPad as a catalyst to deeper learning. The tactile nature of iPad and its multimedia capabilities allow us to make extensive use of it to support digital retrieval practice, dual coding and spaced learning across all subjects and phases. Faculty focused CPD/self-study portal helps staff develop key apps and tools that offer most potential and impact.

Most lessons begin and/or end with an interactive quiz or AFL task and through harnessing iPad for these using a toolkit of apps, teaching staff can quickly assess understanding, spot misconceptions and engage in deeper questioning and discussion with students. In the ‘You Do’ demonstrate phrase, students make use of apps including Garageband, iMovie, Keynote and Clips to show and share their understanding.


Lesson observations and learning walks consistently show iPad in constant use in over 90% of lessons, highlighting how well mobile technology is integrated into our daily routines. There continues to be a strong correlation between effective use of iPad/digital tools and exam outcomes/student positive feedback, especially for leading subjects such as PE, Maths, Science/Physics and Child Development. Individual stories of impact for certain students, including those in SEN, English as Additional Language and Pupil Premium groups show massive impact that having  personal device 24/7 can have.

Moving from traditional, fixed ICT architecture to a fully mobile environment over the last 10 years helped us to save over £1million, through using resources more efficiently.

DFA 1 1 iPad history

You can download our short story below or click on the links for more information:


Contact: Greg Hughes, Vice Principal: Digital Strategy
Phone: 01283 247700

Our 1:1 iPad

Digital books: www/

Apple Regional Training Centre: