EVERY pupil at a Bolton school is set to be given an iPod as part of a wider technological drive costing £250,000.

More than 1,000 pupils at Essa Academy in Great Lever will be given a touchscreen Apple iPod Touch with a market value of £149.

They will be expected to use the hi-tech device — effectively an iPhone without the phone capabilities — to access the internet and download educational software, known as “apps”.

Headteacher Showk Badat says it is a bold step but believes every child should have access to life-changing resources.

Some pupils have already received an iPod Touch and have been installing a range of apps including the complete works of Shakespeare and educational audio podcasts.

The Essa Academy, in Lever Edge Lane, is the first school to equip children and teachers with the devices. Mr Badat believes the school’s investment in technology — which will cost £250,000 and include new PCs for the school — will impact hugely on the achievements of pupils.

He said: “We believe it is vitally important to instil in all our young people the positive attitude that they will succeed here at Essa Academy.

“We will work together to inspire our young people to success, the future is theirs but at the moment, as adults, the responsibility is ours and that is why I am prepared to invest heavily for their future.”

Following the introduction of the iPods — dubbed “anywhere, anytime learning” — Mr Badat said they will help “secure outstanding GCSE results”.

Modern technology has already been harnessed at the school since the beginning of the year, and the school celebrated its best GCSE results.

Nine per cent more children achieved five or more top-graded GCSEs including English and maths, posting a 37 per cent pass rate.

And 27 per cent more pupils — 65 per cent — achieved top grades in five or more of their exams in any subject.

Mr Badat said: “They will do this by accessing the best possible learning resources the world has on offer at their fingertips when they need it.

“We understand the possible risks involved in taking such a bold step and, as precautionary measure, secure firewalls are in place to prevent access to inappropriate materials.

“We believe that parents need to play their part in making sure our children stay safe and they must be present with their child to receive the iPod touch during the launch on Thursday.

He added: “The iPod Touch will bring equality. Every child no matter what their background will have access to life changing resources. We believe that all can have success. To do this we need to provide everybody with the best resources possible and through this, standards will rise.”

Pupils say they are “excited” by having their own iPod and believe it will impact on their learning.

Year 11 pupil Adil Bhutawala said: “iPods help bring modern technology to our academy. Why stop at the classroom when we have the technology to learn anywhere?”

Fellow Year 11 pupil Milan Gola said:“My iPod helps me with my English coursework as I can download English podcasts and an application which contains most of Shakespeare’s plays such as Romeo and Juliet, means I don’t have to carry the whole book home to get the quotes for my coursework.”

Year Eight pupil Natalia Jagielska added: “On my iPod, I can use translators to help me understand things better because I am new to this country.”