PUPILS at a Seaton Delaval school have been given the chance to gain hands-on experience in parenting.
Astley High School has invested £2,000 in a Real Care Baby Programme.
The aim is to give pupils studying child development the opportunity to spend a full weekend looking after a virtual baby.
The pupils are given 24-hour responsibility for feeding, comforting and changing an ‘automaton’, which is fitted with sensors that detect if it is being mishandled or ignored in any way.
When the baby cries, the pupil has two minutes to respond to the situation.
If the pupil fails to attend to the ‘baby’, the device registers this as an act of negligence.
Astley High School teacher Daphne Dawson, who is running the programme, said: “This practical approach really helps students to understand the demands and responsibilities that being a parent brings.
“They can achieve this more directly than by reading a book or watching a DVD on baby care.”