PARENTS of children at a Richmondshire primary school have expressed concern after they were sent letters asking them to pay £500 for electronic tablets for pupils to use in school.

Brompton-on-Swale CE Primary School sent the letters out to parents last month asking for their views on providing each child with a two-in-one Windows laptop, which can also be used as a tablet device – costing £530 each.

One parent, who did not wish to be named, said she was annoyed the school expected parents to fund the equipment.

She said: "I only have one child at the school now but they take part in sports activities and I'd rather pay for those that we are choosing to do.

"For families with two or more children, it is going to cost a fortune, despite the proposed monthly payment plan.

"I'm not happy about it and I know a lot of other parents feel the same."

The letter, signed by executive head Mr White and headteacher Mr Firmin, said the tablets would enhance learning, and enable children to communicate and learn at home as well as at school.

It said: "We need to make full and effective use of technology for learning. Pupils need to learn about safe, effective and productive use of technology so they are prepared not only for the next stage of education, but for their working lives.

"To enable this project to be a success we are investing heavily into the infrastructure to ensure every pupil can access the network and digital content. We will also be investing in software to enhance the way we deliver a highly-engaging curriculum throughout all subject areas.

"With this large investment required by the school, we are asking the support of parents and carers to fund the devices."

The letter said it was particularly interested in hearing the views of families with lots of children in the school, and those on free school meals, including on how the school could support them.

The letter added: "Unfortunately, without your support we will be unable to deliver our vision for the curriculum."

Executive headteacher of Brompton-on-Swale CE Primary School, Mike White, said: “We recently asked parents for their thoughts on introducing a payment scheme to provide each pupil with their own personalised learning device which can be used in school.

“Becoming competent with technology is becoming increasingly important in the wider world and we want to ensure pupils are as prepared as possible for a digital society. Studies show frequent and consistent access to technology has positive outcomes for pupils.

“Introducing appropriate technology in schools is becoming increasingly difficult given the budget restraints currently affecting education. Like many schools, we struggle to meet the costs of the IT equipment we would like all pupils to have access to.

“In such cases, we turn to parents and carers to ask for their contribution as a last resort. We are fully considering the responses we have had from them at the moment to see if this project has their support.”