Press release: March 2009
Students voice their opinions on future education
Schools of the future should use pupils' biometric information, such as fingerprints to step-up security according to the views of one pupil.
Youngsters at schools throughout the borough were consulted on their ideas to improve learning in the future and the schools environment under Blackburn with Darwen’s £200m Building Schools for the Future (BSF) scheme.
The event was also intended to address any concerns that students may have for the new and remodelled schools in 2012 as part of the BSF programme.
As part of the programme nine secondary schools are to be built or refurbished on eight sites.
It was one of many events held for children to help shape future education.
Around 80 pupils and teaching staff took part in the consultation event at St Thomas's pupil referral unit, Lambeth Street, Blackburn, on Monday.
The event included a series of workshops to swap ideas culminating in a chance for pupils to record their views on radio to illustrate the sort of changes pupils would like to see in the new schools.
Pupils took part in interactive dance mat classes, had a go using a text system on the computer rather than traditional keyboards, used Wii Fit balance games and had a go at a group race using gaming consoles to demonstrate how technology can make learning fun.
They were also invited to text ideas to a special number and record anonymous views on camera with each pupils face changed into a talking animal to protect their identity.
In group feedback sessions some pupils said they would like to see biometric systems for registration, meal payments and for taking books from libraries.
Another thought-provoking idea was to install CCTV cameras in all classrooms so parents could log onto a secure internet site using a password to see their child.
Pupils thought technology could be used to create holograms of historic figures to help bring history alive in the classroom.
On a more practical note pupils asked for smaller classroom sizes, more open space, more teachers and later start times.
All the ideas will be pulled together in a report which will be widely distributed to key BSF decision makers and stakeholders and the information will be used to inform future BSF programme developments.
Beardwood pupil, Afia Khatun, 15, said: "Quite often there are language barriers when pupils come from other parts of the world. They take up more of the teacher’s time because of the communication issues so I think more teachers would help."
Eleven-year-old Eddie McKeown, of Darwen Vale High School, added: "I would like to start school later, about 10.30am and think shifts would be a good idea because lots of young people don't like getting up so early.
"I think handheld computers are a good idea. Pupils could take them home to do their home work and use on-line teachers to help them."
Councillor Chris Thayne, executive member for children's services, said: "We feel it's paramount to get the views of our young people to help them shape future education in Blackburn and Darwen.
"It's a unique chance to create learning opportunities which inspire, motivate, encourage and support our young people. They deserve the best and we'll make sure this scheme gives them that."