CHILDREN at a Portsmouth school are enjoying lessons in a ‘classroom of the future’ thanks to a cash injection of £155,000.
Mayfield School in North End was given funding for the project, which has just opened, through the government’s Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme just before it was axed last year.
The new English department facility is the size of three normal classrooms and is equipped with the latest in IT software and gadgets including 60 netbooks, five Apple Macs, five iPads, a large screen to project films and home-made videos, and sophisticated cameras that can zoom in to monitor pupils’ behaviour and help teacher training.
Andy Tite, head of English, said: ‘It is an amazing classroom and we all know we are extremely lucky to have it.
‘It is so flexible in terms of the space we have and approaches to teaching. We can have large groups or small groups in at one time, we can read and anotate books on the netbooks without using any paper, and we can bring English to life through modern media.
‘For example, studying an extract from Shakespeare could involve acting the scene and projecting it on to the big screen to analyse.
‘After that, the class might break up into groups and create their own modern day version, which they could produce in a newspaper format and design using the Apple Macs equipped with the latest software.
‘I am so excited about the possibilities and I am confident this facility will help boost attainment in English throughout the school.’
Students at Mayfield, which achieved a 57 per cent A* to C pass rate in last year’s GCSEs, are thrilled with their new addition.
Marley Blandford, 16, said: ‘The classroom of the future has a cool feeling about it and the technology makes you concentrate more. I think this is a good step forward in learning and giving us higher grades.’
Chloe Harvey, 15, added: ‘All of the new technology makes learning easier. For example, if the library doesn’t have a book, we can simply use the new netbooks to find the novel online.’
headteacher Derek Trimmer was instrumental in bargaining for the funding.
He added: ‘The classroom shows just what possibilities there were for so many other schools if the BSF scheme had not been scrapped.’