AI chatbot becomes new ‘headteacher’ at £32k-a-year private school

A leading boarding school has appointed an artificial intelligence robot as its new "headteacher".

Cottesmore School in West Sussex has worked with an AI developer to create Abigail Bailey, a "principal headteacher" who looks exactly how you might expect an educator at one of the UK's top pre schools, except for the fact that she's made out of pixels. The school's human headmaster, Tom Rogerson, reckons she'll play an important role to support students and staff alike.

"We are stepping into the future while preserving the core values of traditional education," he told the Telegraph. "The introduction of AI is not about replacing our dedicated educators but about augmenting their capabilities and ensuring our students receive the best education possible."

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Abigail, or Ms Bailey as she may be known to pupils, has a range of functions that will allow her to tackle a range of different roles within the school. From working with staff members to support students with ADHD to writing school policies, Abigail will now be on hand.

The technology behind the digital teacher works in a similar way to chatbots such as ChatGPT. Abigail can process vast amounts of data in a short space of time and use machine learning to adapt to new scenarios.

Rogerson added: "It's nice to think that someone who is unbelievably well trained is there to help you make decisions. It doesn't mean you don't ever also seek counsel from humans. Of course you do.

"It's just very calming and reassuring knowing that you don't have to call anybody up, bother someone, you don't have to wait around for an answer."

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Cottesmore, a mixed day and boarding school which charges up to £32k a year in fees, became the first school in the country to advertise for a head of AI earlier this year. Pupils have even been given their own individual AI robots which will help them understand their own unique ways of learning.

Another bot, Jamie Rainer, bagged the "head of AI" role and will help with artificial intelligence planning and strategy. And it's not just education getting a helping hand thanks to AI.

Many sectors are now relying on the new tech to make life easier, and one banking boss reckons the bots could be the secret to shorter working weeks and longer lives. Jamie Dimon, head of JP Morgan, said: "People have to take a deep breath. Your children are going to live to 100 and not have cancer because of technology.

"And literally, they’ll probably be working three and a half days a week."

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