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The BBC's John Maguire
"The children benefit from the classroom of the future"
 real 28k

Sunday, 19 March, 2000, 02:35 GMT
Hi-tech crumbling school
computer room
The well-equipped computer room
A primary school with crumbling buildings is probably one of the most technologically advanced in England.
crumbling concrete
School suffers from dilapidated buildings
Broadclyst primary in Honiton, Devon, has decided that what matters more for the children's education is access to computers.

The school found itself in the spotlight two months ago after a seven-year-old pupil, Ross Saunders, made a video of the crumbling concrete and damp walls and sent it to education ministers.

Ross's father, John, said the school had been trying to get funding for 12 years for repairs to its older, pre-fabricated buildings.
debra browning
Pupil Debra Browning builds her own web page
"It is incredibly cold in these classrooms, which makes it very difficult to learn. The coats in the cloakroom get damp and it's often warmer outside than inside," said Mr Saunders.

Although the school has been in existence for almost two centuries, its attitude is very forward-thinking.

Each of the 42 pupils in the senior year has his or her own personal computer. Many have made their own home pages using web design software.

E-mailed homework

Pupil Samuel Lipscomb takes advantage of the networked internet access.

"I can send work from school to home and finish it off at home," he said.

The school has ambitions to provide computers at home for all of its pupils, to counter the "digital divide" that arises between those whose parents can afford them and those who cannot, which concerns ministers.
peter hicks
Peter Hicks: Priorities
Broadclyst - which has national curriculum test scores well above the national average, and rising - has decided to prioritise its spending on information and communication technology.

"We have had no additional monies," said the headteacher, Peter Hicks.

"The choice that we have made is that the money that we have will go to the children, to their education, and must be to support their education."
cranford community college
Cranford: Computers and electronic whiteboards abound
He is not alone in making such a decision.

At the first of a series of technology roadshows being run for teachers by the Department for Education, many in the audience were impressed by the extensive use of computers described by Marian Brooks, head of Cranford Community College in Hounslow, west London.

But what they wanted to know was how she could afford such an extensive network, complete with high-speed internet connection.

Like Mr Hicks, she said the school had decided that the technology was important for the pupils' education and that therefore the money for it had to be found - just as they would allocate funds for books or anything else.

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See also:

13 Jan 00 | Education
Video reveals crumbling classrooms
08 Jul 99 | Education
Schools that are getting it right
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