LIFE-LIKE newborn baby dummies have been handed to pupils at Stroud High School to teach them about the responsibilities of parenthood.

The sophisticated, computer-controlled tots, which come their own feeding bottles, nappies and changing mats, were cared for by Year 9 girls over 48-hour periods as part of their personal, social, health and economic awareness studies.

Each dummy is fitted with tamper-proof bracelets that records any care the girls give to the babies, which are programmed to sleep for five hours every night to allow time for homework and rest.

Back in class, the girls were awarded marks for correct care procedures, including feeding techniques and support given to the baby’s neck.

Teacher Emma Utting, who organised the project, said: "This is about the social and financial implications of parenthood.

"We do not have a problem with teenage pregnancies at school, although we do understand Britain does have a high rate."