Most school bags contain £120 of electronic gadgets

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The latest smartphone, computer tablet or music player are must have items in school bags.

The average child takes gadgets to school that are worth more than £120, new research has found.

This means the contents of bags across the UK are worth nearly £1 billion, but are often being left unattended and used, for example, as goalposts for football, meaning they regularly become battered or broken or even stolen.

New research released by the Money Advice Service revealed that one in 10 children aged six to 10 takes an electronic tablet to school, while over half of 11 to 16-year-olds take a smartphone.

And 22 per cent of mothers say their child’s items are worth more than those they carry in their handbag.

Headteacher Georgie Sale, of City of Leeds High School, said that inevitably most of her pupils had a smart phone: “Whilst it is nice and reassuring for our children to have a mobile phone, they are not in use during lesson time. They can be distracting and can lead to incidents.

“Fortunately we don’t have many incidents of theft, but things do get broken or damaged, as youngsters whack their bags down on the floor, and we simply cannot afford to insure them at school.

“Having gadgets is just part of modern life no, but they should not get in the way of school work in any way.”

Andy Smith, from city centre gadget repair shop “iPatch” in the Trinity centre, said he regularly had youngsters or usually their parents coming in his shop for repairs: “We get a huge amount of parents bringing iPhones, iPods and Ipads in for repair. They are not easily broken, but it seems youngsters don’t always look after them carefully.

“When I was a child I played with Lego, now smart phones are must have items for kids. Parents bring in the broken screens, often around Christmas time, after all the excitement leads to a smashed screen.”

The report found a number of primary pupils were found to carry a tablet device with one in ten younger pupils had the item in their bag,

The popularity of personal devices such as iPads, smartphones and MP3 players for the latest music, means schoolchildren carry, on average, at least one electronic item with them to school.

To put the figure in perspective, 22 per cent of mothers say their child’s school bags contents are worth more than the items they carry in their handbag.

Only a small minority of parents have adequate insurance cover, choosing replacement or repair options.