St Albans school demands pupils come equipped with tablets

Sandringham School

Sandringham School - Credit: Archant

A mum-of-four has questioned a secondary school’s demand that pupils bring in tablet computers, such as an iPad, to help them in the classroom.

Parents of Years 7 and 10 students attending Sandringham School in St Albans have been asked to provide their children with a portable device from next spring.

Although they can decide which one suits their child, the school has recommended Apple or android tablet computers because of their functionality, portability and battery life.

An Apple iPad mini costs around £200.

To ensure no-one is disadvantaged, Sandringham is offering a lease scheme for parents unable to buy such a device.

This would cost between £9-15 a month, for up to 36 months.

But the local mum, who does not want to be named, said that with three of her four children studying at the school, it was an added financial burden.

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And with her children walking to and from Sandringham, she was also worried about their safety.

She said: “I have questioned why there is a need for tablets when the school has a huge number of computers available. It feels like we are being forced to do this.

“How much screen time will they have in the classrooms? You could have teachers who have them used a lot, and others who don’t use them at all.”

The mum went on: “It is an extra financial burden, especially coming up to Christmas.

“And I’m not happy about my children walking home with them – I worry they will be targeted.”

Headteacher Alan Gray said while the school has been rated outstanding by Ofsted, he was keen for Sandringham to “continue progressing” and that having such devices in the classroom was no different to what students used at home.

He added: “It’s common sense. Years ago people had to buy and bring calculators into the classroom, and no-one bats an eyelid at this any more.

“I think that within the next five-to-10 years their use will be widespread in classrooms.”

Mr Gray said the tablets would be used for about 10 minutes during lessons and would save time as teachers would not have to book the computer room when pupils needed internet access.

He added: “It’s about adaptability and flexibility. We did a lot of consulting with parents and pupils.”

Mr Gray said there were contingency funds available for families struggling to buy or lease devices.