Apple technologies have been instrumental in transforming a UK school into one of the best performing in the country, boasting 100 per cent GCSE passes.

It's a major change. In 1997, Wildern School in Hampshire saw its male pupils lagging behind its female ones in attainment, and seven per cent of children left the school without qualifications.

Now the school is advising others in the UK on best practice to boost pupil achievement.

Macs boost achievement

"The catalyst for change was the school's new arts building, the [email protected] Centre," a report on Apple's website explains.

The school went Mac for the arts centre, installing a dedicated Final Cut Pro-powered video editing suite and an advanced recording studio.

Headteacher Jeffery Threlfall explained: "Our focus is on quality teaching and improving opportunities for children to learn, not on technology for its own sake. Macs have provided brilliant support for our teaching ideas and the ideal platform for working with other schools".

The school's Macs are reliable. It reports a "zero failure rate", which compares to a 30 per cent failure rate for PCs.

Mac-powered learning

Wildern now offers a complete Mac-based learning environment in a purpose-built, 17-classroom building. This has Xserves, Xserve RAIDS, an AirPort wireless network and PowerBooks, iMacs and iBooks.

In common with most recent school results, Wildern has found that its pupil achievement has risen in response to letting children learn using tools they like to use in an innovative way.

There's another result, too: "Once youngsters get their hands on a Mac they don't want to go back to PCs," explained Threlfall.

Wildern School is currently working with Apple on an iPod-in-the-classroom project.