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CDEC futureproofs classrooms with SMART interactive screens

Grange Park Primary School in Stirchley, Telford now includes cutting-edge classrooms following extensive investment in a purpose-built facility.

The school has a capacity of around 460 pupils aged from three up to 11, and came about after Three Oaks Primary and Stirchley Primary merged in 2010.

The intention was to move students out of the old Calcott site, which was in a state of disrepair, and into a new space that featured larger classrooms, more outside space and new teaching equipment. This included an AV upgrade which was funded through the Building Schools for the Future programme at Telford & Wrekin Council, which saw interactive screens installed in all 17 classrooms.

As this was a new build, the school wanted to invest in futureproof technology that would be embraced by both pupils and teachers. With that in mind, AV integrator CDEC was called in to discuss options and advice on the install. After considering multiple options and manufacturers, the decision was made to invest in interactive screens from SMART Technologies along with SMART Learning Suite software.

As Richard Thorpe, head teacher at the school, explained: “SMART was the only option that we felt met all of our requirements; aesthetically the SMART design stands out, but also from a user point of view. Our staff are familiar and trained in the use of the software. From a personal point of view, SMART Notebook is the best software out there for interactive smartboards and this is why we chose them.”

Iain Landby, Year 4 teacher at the school, added: “SMART Notebook is really intuitive because it is really easy to use, it is very clear on where the tools are and it’s easy to follow. We have had really positive feedback from the staff that are using it.”

CDEC also advised the school how to effectively integrate iPads in to the classroom. This was a key consideration when choosing the technology and championed throughout the school by IT technician Lee James. The children now connect to the SMART screens via their tablet and can share information with the entire classroom ensuring effective collaboration and learning. Students have already embraced the technology in the short time they have been using it. The iPad interface is familiar to many of them and the interactive screens have proved a popular addition to lessons.

When it came to mounting the screens, CDEC advised on an alternative to fixed height wall mounts, and the school eventually opted for balance boxes in 16 of the rooms with one screen on a trolley. The height adjustable function ensures that all students and teachers are able to access the screens.

Thorpe concluded: “The installation largely ran smoothly and this is testament to the professionalism of the CDEC installation team. They were fantastic and you can see the results in the excellent finish in the classrooms.

“The AV install has most definitely fulfilled the original requirements. We are thrilled with the final outcome and we would have no hesitation in recommending CDEC to other schools in the area.”