1. ITV Report

Parents protest at school's iPad plan

Parents at a Dorset school have started a protest campaign after being asked to pay £400 for iPads for their children.

A letter was sent out by Gryphon School in Sherborne recommending that pupils in Year 7, 8 and 9 should buy iPads for use from September.

Following complaints the school has said that this is not a "requirement" but is "entirely optional."

ITV West Country's Facebook site was bombarded with comments from parents throughout the region:

  • JESS WRIGHT: if the schools want the kids to use an ipad in school then they should provide them
  • SCOTT SALTER: Why spend £400 on an iPad when you can get laptops for about £300 now?!
  • REBEKAH RHIAN MORRIS: When i was i was in primary we always used pens then went to secondary we used computers to write out course work, don't see how we got grades based on spell check, how are kids going to learn to write properly.

This afternoon the school issued a statement explaining their policy.

The Gryphon School Credit: The Gryphon School

"Our recent letter to parents about the promotion of mobile technology at The Gryphon School was intended to be the first stage in sharing our plans and exploring the benefits of mobile technology use within the school, with further details to follow in the Autumn. We are aware that this has raised a range of questions for some parents. We do apologise if parents do not feel they have been fully informed or had every aspect explained at this stage.

The use of technology in schools is a rapidly expanding area, with the school already having a significant availability of various programmes, equipment and systems. We continue to explore new technologies as they develop and mature in order to prepare students for the working environment and lifelong learning. The Governors have always been fully apprised of the plans and trials to use tablets within school.

The School has been trialing the use of iPads in the current Year 7, in addition to allowing students to use their own iPad or tablet, and has found that there is, and can be, a very positive contribution to learning. Examples of this include students being able to participate interactively in exercises set by the teacher, not having to be located in a specific room, the promotion of investigative techniques, and students being able to conduct their own research in the classroom. This view has been further reinforced by staff who have visited other schools to evaluate schemes that have been running for longer periods.

Parents are being invited to enhance and support the learning of their children within school by more widespread use of tablet technology. This will complement, and be a tool that supports, learning – it will not replace but enhance ‘traditional’ teaching approaches. The school has received welcome commentary and feedback on these proposals, so we can clarify, confirm and reassure parents that there is no requirement for students in any year to acquire an iPad, but it is widely felt that there is a clear benefit in the student being able to use any tablet, small laptop or mobile technology as an additional route to learning.

The School welcomes the use of any tablet to aid learning, allowing students to use their own, or offering parents and students the opportunity to purchase an iPad through a scheme arranged by the School, at no cost or benefit to the school. Parents are free to acquire tablets, including iPads, from other suppliers if they so wish.

The introduction of the opportunity to purchase iPads is an ongoing process. There will be Parents’ meetings in the next academic year to clarify any issues, and a specific website has been set up that gives more information, allows parents to submit queries and feedback, and will be constantly updated as the programme develops.

Parents should be reassured that there is no intention to impose additional costs on any family. However, the Governors also recognise a need to use and develop additional learning channels as they develop and mature, so that our students are prepared as well as they can be for the future. We do welcome further feedback and look forward to developing this strand of The Gryphon School’s development with parents and carers through next year. "

The Gryphon School

– S M Hillier Headteacher, Nigel Rees, Chair of Governors