Prince Henry's iPad plan causes uproar among parents

Ilkley Gazette: Prince Henry's Grammar School Prince Henry's Grammar School

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is already an obsolete piece of kit, at over the market rate of £300-plus and in three years it will be completely out of date.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.

Comments (5)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

10:32am Fri 20 Dec 13

chr1sdb says...

I understand that the 90% of parents who support are the ones who voted. The vast majority of parents haven't responded as, I assume, they most likely feel their views won't be accounted for by the school; much the same way as it taking the Academy route. This is another example of how the schools leadership takes a "we know best" attitude.
I understand that the 90% of parents who support are the ones who voted. The vast majority of parents haven't responded as, I assume, they most likely feel their views won't be accounted for by the school; much the same way as it taking the Academy route. This is another example of how the schools leadership takes a "we know best" attitude. chr1sdb

11:14am Fri 20 Dec 13

RobinHoodPHGS says...

As a parent of two children at this school the only chance I have had to comment on this "proposal " (ie fait accompli) was via the handout at the meetings (at which questions were not allowed from the floor). Nothing has been sent to me via any other source. So only those parents who attended the meetings will get the chance to express their opinions either way.
This is clearly undemocratic and (especially in view of the loaded questions on the voting slip) is designed to skew the vote in favour of the ipads.
There are a large number of issues (including child safety, value for money, misuse of the mechanism for charitable donations etc) which have not been discussed and, in true Sheriff of PHGS Academy style, never will.
These measures will disadvantage those who cannot afford the monthly payments (the use of the word donation by the school is deliberately misleading) and possibly put less well off future parents from applying for school places - maybe this is the intention.
As a parent of two children at this school the only chance I have had to comment on this "proposal " (ie fait accompli) was via the handout at the meetings (at which questions were not allowed from the floor). Nothing has been sent to me via any other source. So only those parents who attended the meetings will get the chance to express their opinions either way. This is clearly undemocratic and (especially in view of the loaded questions on the voting slip) is designed to skew the vote in favour of the ipads. There are a large number of issues (including child safety, value for money, misuse of the mechanism for charitable donations etc) which have not been discussed and, in true Sheriff of PHGS Academy style, never will. These measures will disadvantage those who cannot afford the monthly payments (the use of the word donation by the school is deliberately misleading) and possibly put less well off future parents from applying for school places - maybe this is the intention. RobinHoodPHGS

11:25am Fri 20 Dec 13

Otleyresidentenow says...

I would encourage Nick Girling to visit the parent’s forum on Facebook to get a full picture of why parents feel so against this scheme. There isn’t space here to cover the articulate well considered thoughts being expressed by many parents on the page. I would also welcome his views, after all the Facebook page is a parent’s forum where open healthy informed debate is happening, something that is needed to make informed decisions.
https://www.facebook
.com/groups/21878179
4966618/
I also wonder just how much educational experience Nick Girling actually has. As a long standing university lecture in this area, I must disagree that not giving students iPad will ‘hold them back’. In my experience with university students, I’m constantly trying to get them to do the ground work before they begin to play with the technology. I can also assure you that my children will view the new iPad as toys first and occasionally do some ‘homework’ with them.
Regarding the cost, well again many well-reasoned comments have been given on the Facebook page, but simply expecting parents to pay well over the odds for what is essentially an outdated technological toy isn’t something that will offer our children much educational value. It’s a well marketed gimmick (professionally speaking) there are many cheaper more advanced alternatives, but a proper debate needs to be had and parents need to know the facts before they make any decisions.
I also feel saddened by his disregard towards the cost. Many parents have two children and £20 a month is a substantial amount of money, especially in our current economic times. Not everybody can afford this which is why it is my belief that the vast majority of parents (who haven’t sent forms back) are unsure about the scheme.
Anyway, please do visit the Facebook page if you need more information and reasoned respectful debate. But please do consider it a forum for all things PHGS related, I dint just set it up to campaign against the introduction of the IPads but that is the first topic of conversation.
I would encourage Nick Girling to visit the parent’s forum on Facebook to get a full picture of why parents feel so against this scheme. There isn’t space here to cover the articulate well considered thoughts being expressed by many parents on the page. I would also welcome his views, after all the Facebook page is a parent’s forum where open healthy informed debate is happening, something that is needed to make informed decisions. https://www.facebook .com/groups/21878179 4966618/ I also wonder just how much educational experience Nick Girling actually has. As a long standing university lecture in this area, I must disagree that not giving students iPad will ‘hold them back’. In my experience with university students, I’m constantly trying to get them to do the ground work before they begin to play with the technology. I can also assure you that my children will view the new iPad as toys first and occasionally do some ‘homework’ with them. Regarding the cost, well again many well-reasoned comments have been given on the Facebook page, but simply expecting parents to pay well over the odds for what is essentially an outdated technological toy isn’t something that will offer our children much educational value. It’s a well marketed gimmick (professionally speaking) there are many cheaper more advanced alternatives, but a proper debate needs to be had and parents need to know the facts before they make any decisions. I also feel saddened by his disregard towards the cost. Many parents have two children and £20 a month is a substantial amount of money, especially in our current economic times. Not everybody can afford this which is why it is my belief that the vast majority of parents (who haven’t sent forms back) are unsure about the scheme. Anyway, please do visit the Facebook page if you need more information and reasoned respectful debate. But please do consider it a forum for all things PHGS related, I dint just set it up to campaign against the introduction of the IPads but that is the first topic of conversation. Otleyresidentenow

1:23pm Fri 20 Dec 13

JillandAllan says...

It is very misleading to day that 90% of parents are in favour of the scheme when so many parents have made no decision. If 90% of parents were in favour the scheme would be going ahead now as we were told in the meetings.
I returned my slip after very careful consideration commenting that I wasn't in favour but felt under pressure to say yes because I didn't want my child to be 'the only one without an iPad' when they were using them in class. I don't want her to have her own iPad. We have a family iPad as well as lap top and she has an iPod, phone and Kindle.
I do have an education background and I also have a 12 year old and know how difficult it is already to limit screen time. Homework has to be more creative than searching Google.
And finally, the true cost of keeping just one child in an iPad over their school career must be considered. I realize that for many, £10 a month is nothing, but for many it is a massive commitment. We have food banks in Otley. People are struggling.
It is very misleading to day that 90% of parents are in favour of the scheme when so many parents have made no decision. If 90% of parents were in favour the scheme would be going ahead now as we were told in the meetings. I returned my slip after very careful consideration commenting that I wasn't in favour but felt under pressure to say yes because I didn't want my child to be 'the only one without an iPad' when they were using them in class. I don't want her to have her own iPad. We have a family iPad as well as lap top and she has an iPod, phone and Kindle. I do have an education background and I also have a 12 year old and know how difficult it is already to limit screen time. Homework has to be more creative than searching Google. And finally, the true cost of keeping just one child in an iPad over their school career must be considered. I realize that for many, £10 a month is nothing, but for many it is a massive commitment. We have food banks in Otley. People are struggling. JillandAllan

9:44pm Tue 14 Jan 14

gavznuff says...

Hi,

No problem with those who can afford to contribute covering those who can't .... that is what our society is built on... that makes me proud to be in a developed country,!! However the idea of children learning on iPad's is just a trendy idea that must have sounded great at a teachers meeting... Teach them how to use Microsoft Office on laptops.... more useful in the real world and cheaper.... !!!!. ... although they do use them in 'pets at home' ... but unfortunately they are cheap Android ones.....
Hi, No problem with those who can afford to contribute covering those who can't .... that is what our society is built on... that makes me proud to be in a developed country,!! However the idea of children learning on iPad's is just a trendy idea that must have sounded great at a teachers meeting... Teach them how to use Microsoft Office on laptops.... more useful in the real world and cheaper.... !!!!. ... although they do use them in 'pets at home' ... but unfortunately they are cheap Android ones..... gavznuff

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree