14/08/2014 16:57 BST | Updated 20/05/2015 10:12 BST

Parents 'Emotionally Blackmailed' Into Buying IPads For Pupils

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ipad tablet

Parents of pupils at a grammar school believe they are being 'emotionally blackmailed' into buying tablet computers for their children.

Prince Henry's Grammar School in Otley, West Yorkshire, has written to parents to tell them they will be launching the iPad for Learning scheme - which could cost up to £400 per tablet - because the 'vast majority' of mothers and fathers are in support of it.

However, Leonie Sharp, whose 11-year-old daughter Mollie is a student at the specialist language college, said she is one of a number of parents against the move which gives Key Stage 3 students in years 7, 8 and 9 the chance to use an Apple tablet.

She told the local paper: "We are being emotionally blackmailed. We are already trying to monitor the time our children are spending looking at screens. I think they should be reading books and using pens to write."

Ms Sharp has set up a group - Prince Henry's Parents for Democracy - which has written to the school in opposition.

The scheme, which Prince Henry's is to launch in April, will cost £10 per month over 36 months with a £40 deposit.

If parents want to keep the tablet after three years, the deposit is not returned, but if they want to give it back they will be refunded the £40.

Ms Sharp said some low-income parents may feel pressured into signing up to the scheme even if they cannot afford it, and those with more than one child at the school would have to buy multiple tablets.

She added: "If the equipment is necessary for the children's education, it should be provided by the school, not the parents."

Prince Henry's wrote to parents to thank them for returning a survey which canvassed support for the measure.

Janet Sheriff, the headteacher, and Paul Tranter, the Chairman of Governors, said in a joint statement the school's aim is to create a 'level playing field' for all students, that feedback had been 'extremely positive' and more than 90 per cent of parents who responded to their survey had opted into the initiative.

They said: "The school has been very clear that the scheme would not be introduced unless there was overwhelming support from parents.

"No child will be excluded from the scheme because of financial circumstances. The school has allocated funds to the scheme to support those families in very challenging circumstances.

"The financial model which we have adopted is one that has been used in schools across the country."

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