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Last Updated: Sunday, 11 June 2006, 23:02 GMT 00:02 UK
Pupils get revision help by text
pupils texting
Pupils are able to send their queries to their teachers
Pupils at a school in Buckinghamshire have been getting extra help with GCSE revision by texting their teachers.

Far from banning mobile phones, Cottesloe School in Wing has decided to turn modern technology to its advantage in an attempt to improve results.

Since Easter, Year 11 pupils have been able to message teachers from home with revision queries and get a text answer.

The school said "text mentoring" had also seen teachers messaging pupils with revision prompts and exam tips.

"I've used it a lot for science and I've found it really helpful," said Daniel, 16.

"The other night I was sitting at my computer, trying to figure out an answer to a biology question.

"I texted my school for an answer and they texted me back with one or two tips and I got it within a couple of minutes," he said.

"If you're texting, it's modern and new and everyone likes to use it," said Kerry, 15.

"I've used it to get hints and tips about exams."


To protect teachers' private mobile numbers and to keep a record of the questions and answers for other students to reference, pupils' texts - which they have to pay for - are sent to a special web page.

These queries are monitored by the mentors who can then respond through the website.

The scheme was the idea of deputy head teacher David Stevinson, who approached mobile phone company O2 for sponsorship.

We ought to be using new technology to improve education, rather than wasting time banning mobiles
David Stevinson, deputy head teacher

Mr Stevinson said pupils often became stuck while revising.

"They will often give up and do something else instead, or continue their revision based on incorrect facts," he said.

"It occurred to me that if they had some way of contacting a mentor immediately when they got stuck, they would be able to get the answer they needed and carry on with their revision."

Mr Stevinson admitted the scheme meant more work for teachers, but said he was lucky to have dedicated staff who were committed to improving results.

The school will compare GCSE results in August with the number of texts sent to see if there is a significant correlation between the two.

Mr Stevinson plans to continue the scheme with next year's GCSE candidates and hopes to offer it to pupils in lower years.

But while O2 has paid for the school's expenses for the pilot scheme, the school will have to take on the cost next year.

"We've got to make sure anything we spend money on is driving up results," said Mr Stevinson.

He said the school operated a policy of "not wanting to see" mobile phones, but new technologies as a learning tool must not be overlooked.

"We ought to be using new technology to improve education, rather than wasting time banning mobiles, which is futile," he said.

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