By Gareth Davies and Katy Rice

A secondary school is “changing the way it approaches teaching” by introducing iPads for every pupil.

Hove Park School will be the first school in Brighton and Hove to equip each of its 1,600 pupils with an Apple iPad.

At a series of meetings at the school this week, parents were given presentations by headteacher Derek Trimmer and deputy head Niel Mcleod who described the introduction of the devices as “a catalyst for innovation”.

Teachers will be able to mark students’ work interactively by voice, recording their feedback while correcting their work.

The student can watch a video of their work being corrected with the teacher explaining what’s happening – allowing parents to see what’s going on.

Parents have been offered a package of three options: they can buy an iPad or iPad Mini directly from the school, bring in their own, or use a school-owned iPad, paying contributions for one or two years, after which they own it.

An iPad Mini would cost £209, or payments of £12.40 a month.

There are reduced rates for parents with more than one child at the school and for parents at risk financially.

Independent learning

Mr Trimmer, who has overseen a rise in the school’s Ofsted rating from satisfactory to good, said: “We want to get to a stage where no child fails in education, and therefore we need to change the way we approach teaching.

“This will ensure our students are able to engage with future employers as fully independent learners confident in their use of modern technologies.”

Jason Kitcat, leader of Brighton and Hove City Council, praised the school for the “exciting” initiative.

He said: “It’s a change for the future. It’s a new area and will change teaching.”

Ambitious plan

Chris Day, whose 14-year-old daughter is in Year 9, is “fully supportive” of the school.

Another parent, Lisa Williams, said: “It’s ground-breaking and ambitious, and absolutely the right thing to do for my child’s future in this technological age.”

However, one mother, who would only give her first name as Lyn and has a daughter in Year 8 at the school, said she is “furious” because of the cost implications and safety concerns.

She added: “I don’t feel as if we’ve been given much choice because even though the school said that children who don’t have the iPads aren’t going to be disadvantaged, how can they not be disadvantaged if they’re the only kid in the class without one?”

Not compulsory

Mr Trimmer said: “There are always going to be people against it, just as we had with our school uniform change, but as soon as the uniform was launched, everyone was really positive about it.

“I think the same thing will happen with the iPads, but the difference being it’s not compulsory.”

The school, which has campuses at Nevill Road and Hangleton Way, is set to buy “a significant number” of iPads, which will be distributed to pupils between April 15 and May 3.

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