THE council programme that saw iPads given to school pupils has won two awards.

Scottish Borders Council's Inspire Learning programme is run in partnership with the council’s IT partner CGI, alongside XMA and Apple.

The programme, which cost £16 million, aims to create a “world class” digital learning environment for Borders pupils, with every child from P4-S6 equipped with their own iPad.

At the 2020 Local Government Chronicle Awards, the programme won in the 'Future Places' and ‘Public/Private Partnership’ categories, the only Scottish winners at the ceremony.

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Scottish Borders Council leader Shona Haslam says the awards are an “incredible result” for the council.

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“Inspire Learning has quickly become embedded at the heart of what learning and teaching looks like in the Borders,” she said. “Its ambitions were clear and direct: to raise attainment, support equity and inclusion, and help prepare pupils for a digital future.

“We strongly believe the programme will ensure these young people are well placed for the future in terms of skills and employability, and we are confident it can lead to even more people seeing the Borders as an attractive place to live and work.”

The Future Places award is for councils that have worked creatively with technology to make their area more prosperous, liveable and resilient in the face of likely social, economic, demographic, political or environmental trends.

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The Public/Private Partnership category recognises councils which work with private or voluntary sector organisations to devise better, more efficient services.

Lindsay McGranaghan, CGI vice president and unit leader for Scotland, said: “CGI is delighted that SBC has won both of these awards.

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“Inspire Learning is a perfect example of how the public sector and private enterprise can combine to offer world-class learning opportunities for both pupils and teachers in the Borders.”

SBC recently announced a contract extension with IT firm CGI until 2040.

The council’s extension with the Canada-based firm was recently criticised by Tweeddale East councillor Stuart Bell, who alleged “secret” negotiations in the build up to the announcement.

The 2020 LGC Awards, which were due to be in London in March but were postponed due to coronavirus, took place on October 28, via an online ceremony.