Stockport head teacher bans fountain pens

  • Published

A Greater Manchester school has banned GCSE pupils from using fountain pens - in a bid to boost their exam technique.

Jack Williams, of Hillcrest Grammar in Cale Green, Stockport, took the decision because fountain pens are not allowed in the exams.

He believes that by using ballpoint pens, GCSE pupils will get more accustomed to exam conditions.

The decision is a reversal of previous policy at the school, which banned their use.

Mr Williams, 37, said: "All of the exam boards are now enforcing black Biro use in examinations.

"Exams are then scanned in by computer or e-mailed across to markers. If my pupils don't get used to using Biros they might not get picked up by the scans and not get the credit they deserve.

"For many years, at least 25 that I know of, we've been enforcing the use of fountain pens because it produces a much nicer final product. It's more fluid to use, many people find it easier to use.

"So it goes against all my principles, but I want to make sure my pupils do the best they can and the exam board recognise that."

Only GCSE-age pupils must use the ballpoints. Other pupils, from the age of three upwards, are encouraged to use fountain pens.

Mr Williams admitted that some parents and staff were not happy with his change to begin with, but were now coming around.

The school, which charges £2,570 a term, teaches about 350 pupils, aged between three and 16.

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