Windmill Primary School
1:1 Pilot Programme

Documenting the journey of a UK Primary School introducing 1:1 devices, sharing the challenges, progress and achievements as we go.

This is the story of Windmill Primary School. A forward-thinking primary based in Telford, with a vision of having 1:1 student devices throughout the school. 

As the school works towards making this vision a reality, the plan is to capture the progress made, from the quick wins to the barriers they have to overcome and then share this to help other schools decide if 1:1 devices are right for them. 


About the School

Windmill Primary School, is a two-form entry primary school based in an area of deprivation with over 50% of students accessing free school meals. The school is part of the Community Academies Trust and was rated Good by Ofsted in September 2022.

The Headteacher Mark Gibbons, has been at the school for many years and in the past Mark actually led a strategy to deploy 1:1 devices at Windmill. Unfortunately, due to circumstances at the time, the first 1:1 programme was not sustainable and Mark is now using the lessons learnt to approach this 1:1 programme differently.

'Having 1:1 devices should not be there as an extra, it should be at the heart of the way we want our children to use the tools around them to help them learn better'
Mark Gibbons, Headteacher
Setting the Scene

February 2023
The journey begins when the school joined the
Microsoft Accelerate & Demonstrate Programme (A&D) delivered by Microsoft Global Training Partner, TA Education (TA).  

A&D is designed to help schools (and MAT's) to accelerate their digital transformation and participating schools gain access to unlimited edtech consultancy and 21 hours of training. 

Through consultation with TA, a strategy was identified that involved introducing 1:1 devices in one of two Year 4 classes. This approach would allow the school to compare the progress made compared to the class without the 1:1 devices. This was the first stage in a 1:1 strategy based on small steps, and we only moved on to the next stage once staff were confident and the impact could be seen. 

A ruggedised HP Windows 10 device was identified as the device of choice, including a stylus for inking and a world facing camera. 

Top Tip: A strategy is key and support from an experienced company can save time and money. Contact TA to see how you can access free support.
Devices Arriving in School 

April 2023
The pilot devices were sourced from Edge Computers who came forward to support this programme by providing a free class set of 35 devices. Edge specialises in running 1:1 programmes and they felt that the outcomes of this pilot could benefit their customers. 

Edge worked with Telford & Wrekin Council IT Services (T&W) to utilise Microsoft Intune to provision the devices before they arrived at the school, so they were ready for students to sign in and start using from day one. 

Unfortunately, the school infrastructure, which the Headteacher believed to be sufficient was unable to cope with the volume of traffic in one classroom and some students were forced to share. 
'We need more evidence around how 1:1 devices can have an impact in primary education, that’s why we felt this programme was important.' 
Steve McCormick, Edge Computers
Infrastructure Requirements 

July 2023
Having started the project believing that the school's infrastructure was ready when 30+ devices arrived in the classroom and started streaming online content, it soon became apparent that wasn't the case. 

The school had a 1GB connection to the outside world and a good network in place, but the failure on this occasion came in the form of an ageing Wireless Access Point that wasn't capable of supporting the volume of devices.

Once T&W upgraded the hardware, the pilot was back on track. 
Top Tip: A 1:1 programme will fail if your infrastructure cannot support the volume of devices. Consider if you need to have a Wi-Fi survey done to confirm your readiness. 
Challenges in Class

September 2023

With advice from TA trainers, and learning from past experiences, the classroom management of 30+ devices in the room was soon in place. Students quickly adapted to how they needed to be responsible for their own device, and what was expected from them.

One challenge their teacher hadn't considered, was the student's tendency to be their own toughest critic. Having removed erasers from the class years ago, to stop students erasing their work, she now discovered the problem had re-emerged on the devices with students deleting work they didn't feel was good enough leaving no evidence of learning. 
Progress Made

November 2023
Having settled into the new academic year, the school have been able to reflect on the progress made and overall, the pilot has been deemed a success.

  • Students have become more confident with their digital skills and are happy to help each other, taking the pressure off the teacher. 
  • Data point 1 
  • The initial buzz of having devices in the class has faded away and students are able to produce more work than before, especially as their typing skills have developed. 
  • Data point 2 
Staff training has now begun to build knowledge and confidence around using a Class Team and One Note Class Notebook now Salamander is in place to sync the classes from the MIS. 
Stage 2: A 2nd class moves to 1:1 devices 

January 2024

Based on the success of the pilot programme and the impact seen, the school has ordered a second set of 1:1 devices from Edge Computers for the other Year 4 class. 

The school will self-fund these devices and a wraparound service that includes spare units, and all repairs or replacements required. The plan is to monitor the savings achieved in other areas such as paper, photocopying and glue sticks to see if the cost can be balanced out over time. 

Spring term will see the introduction of the class teams and class notebooks.