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Prince Henry's iPad plan causes uproar among parents
Parents have formed online groups to co-ordinate opposition to an Otley school’s ‘buy an iPad’ scheme.
Further claims for and against the proposal by Prince Henry’s Grammar School have also been made following last week’s intervention by the Town Council.
The council is calling for a rethink on a project that would see Key Stage 3 students provided with individual iPads – in return, in most cases, for £360 over three years contribution.
That call has been backed by some parents who have set up Facebook groups Prince Henry’s Parents for Democracy and PHGS Open Forum to give greater voice to their concerns.
They claim the school is “emotionally blackmailing” them into signing up for a scheme that is educationally questionable and could end up costing more than £800 per child.
But others are supporting the school’s contention that the proposal would boost achievement levels.
Pool-in-Wharfedale resident Nick Girling said: “The small-minded thinking of a few often spoils things for everyone else, and the council’s misinformed approach is yet another example of their seemingly deliberate strategy of holding our community back.
“It is hard to understand how £360 over three years can be such a hardship, which is why 90 per cent of parents have been in favour, and for those families really struggling the school has a plan in place to support them.
“Furthermore I (and I am sure other parents) would be willing to pay a little more to help out.
“By the time our Year 8 students leave school, competition for jobs and university places will be even more intense.
“Only the very best will make it, so to enable them with every modern tool available is essential.”
Parent Leonie Sharp, however, welcomed the council’s stance. She said: “I, like others, am supporting a Facebook forum calling for proper consultation and a rethink.
“I do not want my daughter to be left out but that doesn’t mean I support the scheme.
“I will be forced to pay for an iPad 2, which is already an obsolete piece of kit, at over the market rate of £300-plus and in three years it will be completely out of date.
“I only have one child but what about those with two or three having to fork out an additional £30 per month in these harsh times?
“I do not have any empirical evidence this will benefit my daughter’s education and I am concerned for her safety and that of the other children who would be walking around Otley known to have iPads in their bags.”
Some parents have claimed that the total costs for a child starting in Year 7 and staying through to sixth form would amount to £840-plus.
Prince Henry’s insists it has consulted properly, holding three meetings, and that the project will only proceed if the overwhelming majority of parents back it.
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