Oddly enough - Chew through the crunch

How a new school accessory will fare in these financially tricky times is anyone's guess. But a design company is hoping parents will fork out for pre-chewed pencils.

The company, Concentrate, reckons the pencils, which look like they have already been chewed, will make pupils less likely to put them in their mouths.

The idea is not to save wood, or even lead, but to encourage kids to get thinking straight away.

Hard-bitten teachers may disagree, but Concentrate boss Mark Champkins thinks the company, which specialises in products to help children in school, is on to a winner. "We know it's daft," he starts unpromisingly, before deciding to go for a more upbeat message" "Just get down to some concentrated thinking and who knows what might happen." Quite.

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