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UK school network buys 30,000 iPads for pupils

Still from the Oasis Academy promo video about the iPad program

Oasis Academies plans to provide 7th Generation iPads to every pupil in its network of 52 schools in England, plus teachers and support staff.

England's Oasis Academies, a collective of 52 schools, will provide a new 10.2-inch iPad (32GB, Wi-Fi-only), to each of its 30,000 pupils and staff in a program called Oasis Horizons. Most will receive their iPad between January and June 2021, but schools in Birmingham and Grimsby are to get them from this month.

An academy is the British term for a school which has opted out of working with its own local authority officials and instead deals directly with the national government. The stated aim is to have these schools function more as businesses, and a consequence has been that very many academy schools have merged into networks.

Oasis Academies now includes 14 schools around London, plus 8 near Birmingham in the Midlands, and 18 across the north of England. The company is buying the iPads via Sync, a UK Apple retailer, and says that it is "primarily being financed by using the money that we invest each year into IT equipment across our academies."

"What connects Oasis is a passion for healthy, inspiring communities where everyone is included, contributing and reaching their God-given potential," says John Murphy, CEO. "Oasis Horizons will [also] empower our staff to teach in new and exciting ways and to work more efficiently, reducing the time taken to do important activities like marking and freeing up that time to support their students."

The program is not in response to an increase in studying from home. Currently schools in England are open, and pupils will be required to bring their iPads in each day. "Persistent failure to do this means that your child has not prepared for learning," notes Oasis, "and may result in sanction."

This step by selected schools in England follows similar moves in the US. Most recently, Apple highlighted how the same 10.2-inch iPad was being used to teach gardening in Dallas.