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iPads for pupils at Spires Academy cost £125,000


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Parents and pupils que up for the iPad's at the Spires Academy
Parents and pupils que up for the iPad's at the Spires Academy

Parents and pupils queue up for the iPads at the Spires Academy

by Gerry Warren

A Canterbury school has splashed out £125,000 on iPads for all its pupils - in a move it claims will revolutionise teaching and boost grades.

The hi-tech gadgets have been dished out to 450 youngsters at the Spires Academy, but staff are insisting it will not signal the end of the traditional pen and paper in the classroom.

The tablets, which pupils will be able to take home for personal use, have been bought using the school's IT budget and a government grant.

But most parents have contributed £60 towards the cost and will have the option to buy the iPad 2s at a discounted rate when their children leave.

The gadgets - which sell in shops for £320 - have been engraved with the Sturry school's logo and already have a dozen apps installed on them.

Demi Donovan (15) Georgia Wootten (16) and Danielle Golding (12) with their iPads at the Spires Academy.
Demi Donovan (15) Georgia Wootten (16) and Danielle Golding (12) with their iPads at the Spires Academy.

Demi Donovan (15) Georgia Wootten (16) and Danielle Golding (12) with their iPads at the Spires Academy

Pupils will be allowed to download social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, but will not be able to access them in school.

Mark Richardson, who is the new £13.5 million academy's iPad project manager, said: "We see them as a valuable additional educational tool, but we are certainly not abandoning handwriting, which is still required in parts of the curriculum.

"They have numerous teaching advantages. They are very portable and you can download text books onto them. If they go out of date, the books are very easy and much cheaper to update than having to buy new ones.

"when i was told we were getting ipads i thought i must be dreaming" – jack buxton, 10

"But they have so many other uses - for example, we have expanded the wi-fi reach to take in the sports fields so that we can do things like film the students doing an overhead football kick and compare their techniques to Wayne Rooney's."

The school is only the second in Kent to provide iPads to pupils, following a similar move at the Longfield Academy, near Dartford -
where parents have to pay monthly instalments
of £12 until the cost is covered.

Mr Richardson said: "We have a slightly different scheme, but the evidence is that students using them can increase their grades by up to two levels."

Children have signed user agreements and been given advice about internet safety and keeping the devices secure when carrying them to school.

Jack Buxton, 10, from Herne Bay, said: "When I was told we were getting iPads I thought I must be dreaming.

"I'm really excited and have been counting down the days to getting it. I like music so am looking forward to downloading some music apps."

Harry Lee, 12, also from Herne Bay, said: "It's pretty amazing - I love it. I think it will take our learning to a whole new level and we can also use it to play games."

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