First year students at a County Mayo secondary school will be offered a straight choice between an iPad or a bag full of books when they enroll in September.

The revolutionary introduction of the iPad at St Coleman’s College in Claremorris comes about after weeks of consultation with teachers, parents and pupils.

The iPads will be loaded with learning apps relevant to the second level curriculum and will be phased into use when 90 new students arrive in September.

The full iPad package will cost a thousand dollars per student but parents will be offered a three year funding deal to spread out their payments.

School principal Jimmy Finn believes the price is value for money compared to the cost – and the weight – of a bag full of books.

“It is a bit of a unique idea, but we have to continue to move with the times,” Finn told the Irish Times.

“We received huge support from the teachers and parents for the idea – we had 96 per cent support – but in no way is this obligatory.

“Parents have the choice to go with the iPad or school books like it was always done.”

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