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School site move gives homework new meaning for the pupils logging on to virtual classrooms

Pupils at Loxford High School in Ilford, east London, have been told they can spend the last few days of this term in their pyjamas - as they will be doing all their school work online in a virtual learning environment.

For a week before the Easter holidays and at least a week afterwards, students will have to log on to lessons which are being posted in virtual classrooms as the school moves to its new #163;40 million premises.

The online work takes the form of set tasks. There will be forums which allow students to talk through the tasks with each other and enable teachers to keep an eye on what is happening and answer any questions that arise.

Unsurprisingly, GCSE pupils like Penniana Permal and Pawandeep Virpal, both pictured, are keen on the idea. Penniana, 16, said: "I have my own computer at home, so I'll be able to work without interruptions. My parents have been told about it and they will be pushing us to do the work."

Pawandeep, also 16 and taking ten GCSEs this summer, said he wasn't worried about being distracted while working at home. He added: "I don't really have a choice - it is GCSEs. You do have holidays, but then you have to get the work done.

"You can just go home and revise, but having work set which you have to get done is a lot more helpful."

There will also be revision classes in some of the old school buildings for Year 11, 12, and 13 students.

But while most pupils get to stay at home, the teachers will have to go into school to pack their belongings into 1,050 crates, ready for the move. The school will be shut from March 29, four days before the official end of term. There will be a staggered return for students stretching from April 21 to April 26.

Andrew Bainbridge, deputy headteacher, said: "My Year 7 pupils have three pieces of work which they can do by themselves. It is quite independent study, not going through a task. They do have to do it by a certain time, but they don't have to be online to do it. Some will choose to work on their own, but if they get stuck there is the forum to support them."

The school was rated outstanding by Ofsted in 2007. The new building will allow it to expand from an eight-form entry to a ten-form entry school.

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