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Staff on the move stay glued to the telly

There is no escaping Teachers' TV for staff at a Birmingham school, even when they are relaxing in the bath or sitting on the bus.

Senior staff at Hodge Hill have developed a system which enables them to watch programmes from the new digital channel on handheld computers wherever they go.

Matthew Wheeler, business manager, discovered he could download the programmes from the internet and then fit them on to portable memory cards because they only last 15 minutes.

The school has equipped all nine members of its senior management teams with handheld Ipaq computers and hopes to provide them for more teachers.

April Garratt, deputy head and business studies teacher, has been using the system to watch programmes during her lunch- breaks. "Sometimes I just don't have time to sit down and watch TV," she said. "This means I can watch it on the move or when I'm standing in the dinner queue.

"I've got Freeview at home so I could watch Teachers' TV there. But it's only on between midnight and six and I'd have to remember to record it.

This is much easier."

Mrs Garratt said the Teachers' TV programme she had enjoyed most so far had been Behaving with Bayley, in which a behaviour expert gives advice to a newly- qualified teacher.

Each of the Ipaqs at Hodge Hill has a code-sign named after a character from Star Trek - the suggestion of Mrs Garratt, a science fiction fan.

Nearly all of the teachers' computers have names from the Deep Space Nine series, such as Worf and Dax. "It's my favourite series," Mrs Garratt said.

However, headteacher Marie McMahon's Ipaq is code-signed Janeway after the bold red-headed female captain from Star Trek Voyager. Ms McMahon is also a red-head.

Television industry experts believe the number of teachers who download Teachers' TV off the internet could eventually outstrip the numbers who view it on cable, satellite and Freeview.

Although there are only 1.1 million school staff and governors in the UK, the channel's website received half a million hits on its first day.

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