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Last Updated: Saturday, 5 February, 2005, 01:53 GMT
E-mail homework earns top marks
St Ambrose school pupil
The paperless school is emerging
Pupils at a Cheshire high school have gone down the fast and environmentally friendly route of filing their homework via e-mail.

Some pupils are so keen they are completing the work and mailing it back within half-an-hour of arriving home.

Teachers then mark the work and return it to their pupils, again by e-mail.

The boys school - St Ambrose RC College in Hale Barns - is also able to deliver lessons direct to pupils' homes using its own computer network.

Computer-delivered lessons and e-homework currently apply exclusively to information and communication technology (ICT), but are set to be rolled out across other subjects at the Catholic grammar school.

Most of the pupils at St Ambrose College have access to computers at home, but those who do not can use school PCs to complete their work.

The pupils are very keen... and their parents love the idea
Michael Thompson, head master

Head master Michael Thompson said: "When pupils go home they can log on to the school network and continue the work they have been doing during the day.

"The pupils are very keen, probably because there's a novelty value, and their parents love the idea."

ICT head Peter Mayland said: "It is far more flexible for both teachers and pupils and allows us to be more creative and challenging in the choice of work we set.

"But perhaps most importantly it is in itself a constructive use of ICT, giving the pupils more confidence to use the tools of the subject.

"The paperless school may not be too far ahead."

St Ambrose is one of a number of schools nationwide piloting the project.

The school's innovative approach does not stop there. It is investigating the possibility of giving every sixth form boy a palm-top.

This would enable them to download educational information from websites or enable teachers to send subject-related documents to their palm-top.

Boys could also take notes on the portable device during lessons and write essays on it.

The head master said: "We have this vision of a school without walls.

"The internet allows us to do that - it actually extends the working hours of the school."

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