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17th January 2003 at 00:00
THE time may soon come when parents send their children to private schools not because of small classes or spectacular sports facilities, but to learn touch-typing. It would not be surprising if other prep schools followed the lead of pound;14,000-a-year Millfield, where all Year 7s are taught this essential computer-age skill. In our 21st-century school system, much time and care are spent teaching and testing handwriting. However, policymakers have never understood the difference it makes to be able to use the keyboard automatically, with thoughts going straight from brain to screen - even though most writing is now done on computers in the grown-up world.

Public and private schools that teach this key skill have reaped benefits such as better spelling and the motivation which comes from a sense of mastery (typing is not hard to learn). But it will not become universal until it is given priority.

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