Pupils' excuses keep up with technology

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The Independent Online

Schoolchildren have always been inventive when it comes to excuses for not handing in their homework - and now they are increasingly blaming technology, a new survey revealed today.

According to the research by PIXmania.com, the average British teacher hears 15 homework excuses a week.

That works out at 6.5 million excuses a week across the country - with 1.3 million of these related to technology.

Over the last 12 months the 1,000 UK-based teachers surveyed said they had seen a 30 per cent increase in the number of tech-related excuses being heard in the classroom.

The top five most popular tech-related reasons for not doing homework are:

:: My computer crashed and I lost it;

:: I finished my homework but then I deleted it by accident;

:: I could not print it out;

:: My internet was down so I could not do any research;

:: I lost my laptop.

Teachers revealed other tech-related excuses including:

:: My dad's computer was hacked by the Russians and they stole my homework;

:: A burglar stole my printed-out homework along with the computer;

:: The PC exploded when our dog went to the toilet on it;

:: I accidentally tipped a bottle of cider over the computer and it broke.

Contrast that with a selection of pre-technology excuses:

:: My mum put my homework in the washing machine, and then burnt it as she tried to iron it dry;

:: The wind blew my homework into a pond, and then a swan ate it;

:: My brother drove off with my homework in his lorry, and then he lost it in France.

The study revealed 70 per cent of school teachers noticed an upsurge in the number of pupils blaming technology for not doing homework.

And 68 per cent of pupils are now submitting school work typed on a computer - making it far easier to blame technological faults.

The amount of work being done on PCs and laptops is also making tech-related tales more believable to teachers, with one in four admitting they were less likely to challenge them.

Sue Cooke, assistant headteacher at Wallington County Grammar School, Surrey, said: "Initially I think teachers were more likely to believe technology related excuses but we are definitely wising up to their tech trickery.

"We are having to become more tech-savvy ourselves so that we are able to offer the kids advice to assist those who are genuinely having problems with their computer."

Managing director of PIXmania.com, Ulric Jerome, said: "To help teachers and students alike, we have created the PIXmania Tech-NO-Excuses Guide, a downloadable advice sheet for teachers to share with their classroom that will teach students useful tips such, as how to set a computer to AutoRecover to ensure that work no longer goes accidentally missing before kids have a chance to hand it in."