A HIGH school is to give each of its 1,200 pupils an iPad mini worth more than £260.

Pleckgate High School, Blackburn, is among the first in the country to offer the tablets to all students to improve educational development.

Headteacher Cherry Ridgeway said the idea was also to improve results and bridge the gap between the classroom and home study.

She said: “Rest assured, this is not a gimmick.

“We are giving our pupils access to modern technologies that will allow them to learn independently and prepare them for life in the modern world.

“iPads offer huge potential in terms of a child’s educational development.

“They will improve student and teacher interaction and this alone has been proven to accelerate learning.”

Learning experts at the school believe the tablets, which retail at around £269, will revolutionise teaching resources.

Pleckgate, rated as ‘good’ at its last Ofsted inspection in 2011, is also set to become an Apple regional training centre, which will enable it to explore creative use of iPads in classrooms and how teachers can create a digital curriculum.

On the school website, Ms Ridgeway said: “The iPad mini will be one of the students’ main learning resources and will be brought into school each day and taken home for use in the evenings and at weekends.

“Each student with their own device means that they take real ownership of the device and look after it, learn how to use it effectively and develop appropriate skills in its usage.

“The link between home and school learning means that projects can take on much greater depth and not be restrained by the 55 minutes in the classroom that are available to work on them.”

Parents will be asked to make a £30 contribution to insure the iPads and to receive a protective case, which usually retails at £40.

The rest of the money is coming from school reserves and this year’s budget.

Extra funding may also come from grants.

When children leave the school, if the iPad is more than two years old and the pupil has good behaviour and attendance, they will be allowed to make a contribution and keep the tablet.

Shiraj Vali, chair of governors, said the idea had been trialled in two classrooms and would be rolled out in September.

He said: “We are really proud to be the leading school in Blackburn with Darwen, and probably the first school in Lancashire, to embark on such a great initiative.

“The pupils are really, really excited.

“We are actually seeing a marked improvement in pupil behaviour. They feel they now have the necessary tools to be able to help them with their learning.

“We have not applied for any grants as yet, but we had some money in our school budget which was ring fenced for the development or introduction of new technology.”

Deputy headteacher Nic Ford added: “Teachers find there is less need for photocopying, textbooks are written online according to the children’s specific needs and the ipads offer a much more flexible approach.”

Simon Jones, Blackburn with Darwen National Union of Teachers representative, said: “Initially when we heard about it, there was a bit of concern that it might be money that could cost teachers jobs.

“But we have been in touch with the school and spoken to the head and we have been reassured that that is not the case.

“I am sure the children will still be doing plenty of writing.”

Other schools that have already introduced tablets into their schools include Cedars School of Excellence in Greenock, Scotland; Warden Park in West Sussex and Hove Park School in Brighton.