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Phone a friend? No, mail a teacher

Online teaching service seeks sponsorship

Parents may soon be able to get seven-day-a-week help with their children’s homework. If Homework Helper, by schoolteacher Andrew Kenyon, goes ahead primary school teachers will be on hand for 12 hours a day, providing handy hints and tips on how parents can best help their child with homework.

Last year, Kenyon successfully launched a WorldEducation.Net directory. The directory, sponsored by Demon Internet and Polygram, provided teachers with advice when starting to use the internet, as well as a directory of UK schools. According to Kenyon, over 8,000 copies of the CD have so far been sold.

But don't get too excited — the scheme is still only a proposal as Kenyon has not yet found sponsorship, so it looks like parents may have to keep struggling with those tricky maths and science questions for a while longer. If a sponsor is found, the service will commence in January. WH Smith has already lent its support, if not yet its money, to the project.

Under the proposed free scheme children and parents will be able to email primary school teachers to ask questions, negating the need for hours of searching the internet to find answers. This doesn't mean that kids can get teachers to finish their homework for them &emdash; answers will be tip-style rather than essay-style.

Advice about local schools, reading lists that children should be using and a marking service to evaluate how well your child is doing will be included in the service.

"We will be able to offer help to children, set homework and send tips by email as it gets nearer to exams," said Kenyon. A trial scheme, launched in St Helens, Lancashire, showed improved results by children who had received text messages from teachers giving study advice.

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