CGI creates unique digital solution for education in Glasgow and the Borders Scotland

CGI, the primary IT provider in Glasgow and the Scottish Borders, created a unique digital solution, Empowered Learning, which has transformed learning and teaching in Scotland’s biggest city, Glasgow, and the rural Scottish Borders.

This solution is now embedded at the heart of what learning and teaching looks like in both local authority areas, bringing a host of benefits to pupils and teachers, especially when it comes to blended learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Transforming education in Glasgow and the Scottish Borders

CGI is the primary IT provider for two councils in very different parts of Scotland – Glasgow City Council, the local authority running Scotland’s biggest city, and Scottish Borders Council, in charge of a largely rural area bordering England.

Both have enacted ambitious plans to affect transformational change to their digital infrastructure. CGI is front and centre with these plans, a key part of which is modernising digital education provision. This resulted in CGI creating a unique solution called Empowered Learning.

Empowered Learning

Empowered Learning is based on clear and direct ambitions: to raise attainment among pupils, support equity and inclusion, and help prepare young people for a digital future.

Its solution is to bring in stronger networks for primary and secondary schools, with much faster broadband speeds, new WAN connectivity, and updated audio-visual solutions in every classroom. Teachers are trained and supported on how to use the technology available to them, ensuring a consistent experience of learning for pupils, giving them all equal access to the best tools for learning. 

This learning experience is delivered through devices, which students and teachers use exclusively to access learning resources and experiences. Use of devices is secure, and appropriately tracked and managed.

Connected Learning in Glasgow

Glasgow City Council incorporated Empowered Learning into its own digital learning programme, Connected Learning – one of the largest single city implementations in Europe.

Together, CGI and the council deployed and registered more than 44,000 devices and Apple TVs on the network. Every pupil from Primary Seven through to S6 in Glasgow’s secondary schools receive their own device, whilst typically nursery pupils through to Primary Six share one between five.

The roll-out, initially scheduled for completion in 2021, was accelerated due to COVID-19 and the lockdown in the UK which saw schools closed. As a result, secondary school deployment is now 100% complete, six months ahead of schedule, as is deployment to all teachers in primary and secondary. Deployment to all primary pupils is also well on the way to being completed.

Already, the Connected Learning programme has become embedded at the heart of delivering a world-class digital learning environment to pupils.

Inspire Learning in the Scottish Borders

In the Scottish Borders, the programme is called Inspire Learning, and it recently received UK-wide recognition at the prestigious Local Government Chronicle (LGC) Awards, where it was named best Public/Private Partnership and Future Places.

The awards are a testament to Inspire Learning’s fundamental success in giving every child in the Scottish Borders the same opportunity to the same great digital tools for learning, no matter their circumstances. This was achieved through a joint Scottish Borders Council and CGI team deploying devices to more than 13,000 pupils between Primary Four and S6.

As with Glasgow, the roll-out was accelerated, to be 100% completed before the COVID-19 national lockdown began in March. Now nearly 6,300 pupils and their teachers in the Borders’ nine secondary schools have devices. This makes Scottish Borders Council the first UK local authority to deliver such a programme of change to every secondary student, allowing teachers to deliver dynamic lessons as students studied remotely from home. The region’s 546 primary teachers were also given access to remote training, so they could be as prepared as possible for their pupils’ return when lockdown was eased in August.

Not only that, the programme enjoyed high levels of use among pupils and teachers, with 96% and 93% respectively actively engaged, while overwhelmingly positive feedback from pupils, teachers and parents demonstrated the vital nature of the programme.

Pupils now have an opportunity to stretch themselves, and also gain one-to-one feedback with teachers, who, through the device, engage more with pupils in a truly virtual classroom setting.

Empowered Learning’s bright future

CGI’s Empowered Learning has not only affected change within Glasgow and Scottish Borders schools, but also in the wider community, with digital skills cafés feeding off its success. The capability of Empowered Learning does not end with education. For instance, in the Scottish Borders, CGI is gearing up to provide similar enhanced digital support to the likes of social care, care homes and healthcare.

Empowered Learning has so much more to offer, and CGI will remain at the forefront of delivering this change.