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Tale of pupil co-operation

Children at a Plymouth primary school have been writing stories and then firing them off via email for secondary pupils to mark.

The scheme, which started just before the Easter break, is not an ingenious way of reducing teacher workload or encouraging youngsters into the teaching profession.

It aims to give the primary children a new audience for their writing and provide teenagers with a taste of life as a teacher.

The stories were written in an after-school homework club by 12 Year 6 pupils at Hooe primary and sent to a dozen Year 8 and 9 pupils at Hele's school for marking.

Jake Daykin, head of Hooe, said: "We wanted to give pupils a new audience to write for because often they are just writing for the teacher and that can be a bit samey."

Andrew Burkey, history teacher at Hele's, talked pupils at the specialist language college through a simplified version of the key stage 2 marking scheme. Mr Daykin also visited the school and suggested pupils picked out a positive aspect of the story and an area that could be improved.

There was a hitch this Easter though when all of the stories were wiped off the computers and they had to be written again.

Katy Burton, 13, one of the Year 8 pupils involved in the scheme, said: "I wanted to do it so that I could see how teachers mark work. I don't want to be a teacher, I don't think I'd like the marking and getting children to behave."

Unlike students at Carshalton high school for boys (above) where pupils are paid for the extra work they do at lunch time, the Hele's pupils are not paid as it is part of a school project on self-assessment.

They visited Hooe at the beginning of February and met the Year 6 pupil they would be paired with.

Roz Hopkins, acting deputy and Year 6 teacher at Hooe, said: "The pupils were shy at first but the more they talked to the older students the more they found they had in common."

Samuel Atkinson-Sporle, 13, another Year 8 pupil taking part, said: "I am doing it because I thought it would be fun. The primary children were really excited."

Michael Unglow, Hele's headteacher, said: "Our pupils feel privileged that they have been given the teacher's role in marking work. They think it is quite a responsibility. I don't think it will encourage them into the teaching profession. It will probably do the oppositeif they think it is only about marking."

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