Last updated: 30.07.13

Schools demand money from parents for tablets

Schools in the UK are asking parents to come up with cash to provide pupils with a tablet each to aid their learning in class.

Mothers and fathers have been told they need to give institutions between £200 and £300 for one of the devices, or pay in instalments ranging from £12 to £30 a month, the Guardian reports.

This means that while lots of schoolchildren will be benefiting from computer-assisted education, others from poorer backgrounds could be missing out, revealing the divide these built-in costs could bring about.

Hove Park School in East Sussex is one faculty that has called on parents to part with money so that their kids can use tablets in the classroom, with pupils able to rent one from the school for a minimum of £12.40 a month, or buy one outright.

Headteacher Derek Trimmer claimed that he expects to receive complaints, but he wants all children at the school to have the chance to "engage with future employers as fully independent learners confident in their use of modern technologies".

According to a survey carried out by Hove Park School, the number of pupils rating their lessons as good or better has almost trebled - from 31 per cent to 87 per cent - since the tablets were introduced.

Still, the problem remains that while technology could well be beneficial to teaching, it should not be up to the parents to come up with the costs, especially during such a pressing economic climate.

Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, stated schools should not set out to exacerbate problems between classes by reinforcing a digital divide.

She was quoted as saying: "Having to buy iPads or tablets outright, or pay monthly instalments to the school, may well be the final straw for families on stretched budgets."

One Honywood community science school in Essex recently rolled out tablets for free to all of its 1,200 students, but asked parents to make a £50 contribution towards insurance - and 489 devices had to be replaced after a year.