School remains tight-lipped after Chromebook backlash

Tring School has remained tight-lipped over its new Chromebook scheme after the launch caused controversy among parents last week.

Thursday, 26th May 2016, 2:42 pm
Updated Thursday, 26th May 2016, 4:48 pm
Tring School students with Chromebooks
Tring School students with Chromebooks

Last week, the Mortimer Hill school announced all students would be required to own a Google Chromebook device as part of its ‘Chromebooks for Learning’ scheme.

But following mass confusion over whether the scheme was compulsory or voluntary, the school’s management team held a meeting for Year 10 parents on Monday evening.

An attending parent accused the school of being ‘devious’ in its communication, with those giving the presentation refusing to answer questions from the floor and headteacher Sue Collings sitting with “her back to parents” throughout.

The parent, who wished to remain anonymous, said the meeting was ‘a glorified sales pitch’ and Ms Collings did not address parents during the presentation.

They said: “The headteacher didn’t speak – she sat at the front with her back to the parents throughout, as is usual at any presentation at the school.

“It was a glorified sales pitch, no more, no less.

“They used statistics to confuse people.

“They said that 66 of the top 100 schools in the USA use Google technology.

“That’s Google technology, not Chromebooks. Considering how big Google is, that’s not a real suprise is it? I had a ‘no *** Sherlock’ moment.

“In my opinion, the school has and continues to be devious in its communication and dealings with parents.”

Parents need to stump up either £185 or £149 for the Asus devices, depending on which package they choose as part of the roll-out.

In the initial literature sent out to parents, there is no mention of the scheme being voluntary in the entire 12-page document explaining the scheme.

Information on the school’s website says there will be a ‘payment plan’ option available for those who cannot fork out the expense all at once, while those who qualify for Pupil Premium will be able to purchase the devices at a flat rate of £20.

On Monday, the school said it currently has no contract with Asus or Google, but has failed to say which company is contracted to supply the £250,000-worth of equipment.

Further parent-teacher meetings are being held this week, but the roll-out has had mixed reactions on social media.

Some parents expressed concern at the cost and the safeguarding issues surrounding pupils’ journey to and from school, while some thought it was a forward-thinking scheme and urged others to ‘move with the times’.