DfE and Stone Group partner on initiative to improve home learning

The Digital Education Platform has been designed to enhance the quality of e-learning provision – which is now a legal requirement for UK schools

The Department for Education (DfE) has partnered with digital solutions company Stone Group on establishing the Digital Education Platform – a new resource designed to improve e-learning provision, which is now a legal requirement for UK schools.

This follows education secretary Gavin Williamson’s announcement that the DfE has purchased an additional 300,000 devices to deliver to disadvantaged learners across the UK.

With education institutes being forced to close their doors once more as of 5 January this year, following a spike in coronavirus cases across the nation, the education sector had to shift back to online learning provision. Teachers, parents and students alike adapted quickly to the change, and schools remain in need of technology and digital resources to support students learning from home.

In light of this, the DfE has collaborated with Stone Group and Microsoft in a bid to give schools the best chance to successfully teach online, assisting them in the implementation of the Digital Education Platform.

On the project, Stone Group stated the following: “In 2020, continuing into 2021, we have seen the need for digital transformation within schools at a rate never seen before. Stone has been at the forefront of this evolution, providing technology solutions and training to help schools, and the education sector as a whole, on their blended learning journey, supporting teachers and pupils alike.”

Data accurate as of 17/12/2020

The education sector, like most of the world, has suffered greatly as a result of the pandemic, and many fear school closures could have a lasting impact on learners, since the lack of traditional teaching methods and rapid shifts to online delivery has led to the cancellation of 20/21 exams.

Current requirements enforced by the DfE mean schools must provide either recorded or live direct teaching throughout lockdown, and should be of equivalent length to the lessons pupils would receive in-person.

As a minimum, that is:

  • Three hours a day for Key Stage 1 (Years 1 and 2, when pupils are between 5 and 7)
  • Four hours a day for Key Stage 2 (Years 3–6, when children are aged 7–11)
  • Five hours a day for Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 (secondary school up to age 16)

To further support the provision of remote learning, the BBC has re-launched its lockdown learning resources – available on TV, online and social media – which has seen a record number of visits this month.

Despite the adaptations needed, experts believe the innovations teachers use could create lasting change, with technology playing a fundamental role in the future of education.

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