Portsmouth secondary school wins global award in recognition of digital transformation

The Portsmouth Academy has once again been placed on the world stage by being recognised as the best school for digital transformation in the Global EdTech Awards.

The academy, which is committed to closing the digital skills divide in the city of Portsmouth, has been on a journey to develop digitally-led lessons through the use of one:one laptop devices.

Currently, every pupil in Year 7 and 8 (with more from September 2023) has their own laptop to use in all lessons and at home to support them with the scheme's mission to make learning last. The fantastic work has led to their win within the ‘Best School Digital Transformation (State/Public School)’ category.

James Batten, the Assistant Principal for Digital Strategy at The Portsmouth Academy, says the academy is brimming with pride following the achievement.

He said: "I speak on behalf of all staff at The Portsmouth Academy when I say we are incredibly proud that the school has been recognised as the Best School for Digital Transformation.

"Change and transformation are a team effort, and the whole school community should be extremely proud of their role in achieving this award. From the governance of the Trust and Board, investment from the school, the staff's implementation of devices to facilitate and accelerate learning, and the student’s enthusiasm to become future-ready learners.

"The digital transformation of The Portsmouth Academy is closing the digital divide we see in the city. It has enhanced teaching and accelerated progress, and as our one:one scheme grows each year, I’m looking forward to more and more students benefiting from our digital transformation and digital strategy."

The Portsmouth Academy, a proud member of the Thinking Schools Academy Trust, was shortlisted among other educational establishments from across the world, including runner-ups from Australia and Argentina.

The academy holds Microsoft Showcase School status too (link here to their previous accolade).

What stood out within the academy’s submission was its breadth, showing the stepping stones to the benefits the school can see amongst its digital learners. From the planning and research, through to the steps taken to implement and bring staff along the journey to digital delivery of lessons.

Natalie Sheppard, Director of Education and Principal for The Portsmouth Academy, wrote the submission on behalf of the academy following her admiration for what has been achieved.

In the submission, she said: "The school’s mission is to transform life chances. With the growth in schools, the addition of boys, and low academic standards that have pervaded Portsmouth schools for many years, radical change was needed to meet the needs of so many vulnerable children.

"I therefore embarked on a quest to introduce a one:one device offering to transform engagement, learning, and achievement and make the school a desirable place for educators to work in. The school’s Digital Drive Team has been critical in leading staff development. From IT tech wizards to senior leadership, to classroom educators, everyone has been able to work on the development of the digital journey, ensuring a holistic viewpoint for change. Now the school has a customised platform that allows digital change to be understood through gathering the views of all stakeholders, thus empowering the never-ending journey."

In 2019, the academy only had two computer suits, but after discovering the wide range of methods by which students could learn through the use of laptops, change came, and now the school’s Year 7 and 8 pupils learn through the effective use of Microsoft educational tools, culminating with this prestigious award.