They say young children are not responsible enough to look after such expensive equipment and will be targets for theft Plans for two English Schools Foundation schools to have students bring their own laptops to classes have sparked concerns among parents over whether children should be responsible of carrying such expensive machines every day. Renaissance College plans to have each secondary student bring a laptop to school within the academic year and South Island School is considering introducing a similar programme next year. But some parents were worried that students, especially those in the lower years, might not be able to look after a laptop, said the chair of the Joint Council of Parent Teacher Associations, Sarah Rigby. 'Is it reasonable for the children to have that pressure to look after the computers? I think the school has to really prove to parents that it's necessary for them to have them,' she said, adding that computers could be accidentally left in places such as school buses. Ms Rigby said families with two or three children in secondary school would have to spend a significant amount of money. 'On top of that parents will have that lingering doubt of what happens if one of them drops it in the first week.' she said. South Island School parent Mary Mason said she worried children might lose their laptops and be targets for theft, particularly when they attended after-school activities with students from other schools. She suggested students carry computer files on data storage devices, such as flash disks. Another parent, Mark Taylor, said wealthier parents would buy their children top-of-the-range models while some families would struggle to afford any kind of laptop. 'There will be the haves and the have-nots,' he said. Renaissance College principal Peter Kenny expects that all secondary students will have their own laptops later this academic year, with the machines costing parents between HK$6,000 and HK$8,000. A partnership with Apple meant the school would be able to offer computers at a subsidised rate. Students who could not afford to buy a laptop would be able to loan a computer from the school. 'We want to make it a right for kids across the school to have access to the internet,' Mr Kenny said. Having their own laptops would let students take advantage of podcasting and record lessons to help them review their work, he said. 'Students don't have to be next to each other to collaborate on assignments or be in the classrooms to access teachers,' he said. Mr Kenny said the school would need to teach students how to keep their laptops safe and provide secure lockers. South Island School principal John Wray said 82 per cent of parents supported the proposal for students to have their own laptops from next year. Parents had expressed concerns about security issues and internet safety and the school would consider these in coming months, he said. While the school had five computer rooms, two banks of laptops and computers throughout the campus, this did not enable work on demand. 'This concept of anytime, anywhere learning using information and communications technology is a really important one for us to develop in the children's learning,' he said. ESF education director Graham Ranger said the organisation would evaluate the Renaissance College programme but at this stage had no plans to extend it to other schools. He added that the proposals were not a 'way out' for schools to avoid funding IT equipment.