The call for the government to provide free internet to all disadvantaged children in the light of the pandemic gathered strength today with support from leading Tories, Tony Blair and charity chiefs. A cross-party letter has been sent to education secretary Gavin Williamson stating that many as 700,000 children who are eligible for free school meals do not have access to the internet at home.
… it is collectively up to head teachers, teachers, governors, school committees, technology partners and the government to ensure every child has the access necessary to learn remotely – Simon Carter, director, RM Education
Simon Carter, director at RM Education, commented: “Every child across the UK should be provided with the means to gain a thorough education, no matter what their background. The last three months have demonstrated the important role that technology can play in making that happen via a remote classroom.
“Technology soon became the lifeline for schools – from staff meetings, to student collaboration, to delivering assignments – technology really has enabled schools across the country to continue delivering high-quality education.”
Free internet for every disadvantaged child
“During Covid-19 it has become abundantly clear that technology is no longer a luxury; it is a necessity,” says Carter. “Schools need to ensure that pupils, as well as teachers and staff members, are well equipped to learn and work from home. This includes access to a reliable internet connection, laptops, tablets or similar devices that empower pupils and staff to learn and teach remotely.
“And it is collectively up to head teachers, teachers, governors, school committees, technology partners and the government to ensure every child has the access necessary to learn remotely.
“In the UK alone, it has been reported that 700,000 children are without laptops or tablets. Any child without a device or the connectivity to use it is effectively offline and without access to the educational resources that they deserve.”
Schools need to ensure that pupils, as well as teachers and staff members, are well equipped to learn and work from home – Simon Carter, director, RM Education
“The DfE are running at least two fully funded schemes – providing schools with both devices and internet connectivity, and a platform to deliver remote learning. It is critical that schools take up these offers, ensuring that all of their pupils have the same opportunity, no matter what their background.
“While it may not be a pandemic next time, it could be a flood or even a severe winter, and having the right technology, along with a robust continuity plan in place will ensure the same high quality of teaching can continue both in the classroom and remotely.”
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