The Digital Divide
In the latest lockdown. The closure of schools and the transition to remote learning has highlighted the stark reality of the digital divide across the UK, with many children and families finding themselves without access to the basic resources needed to receive and engage with their education.
Paula Arrowsmith, Regional Director at Ormiston Academies Trust in England, writes about the Digital Divide:
The closure of schools and the transition to remote learning has highlighted the stark reality of the digital divide across the UK, with many children and families finding themselves without access to the basic resources needed to receive and engage with their education.
In the UK, an estimated one million children and their families do not have adequate access to a device or connectivity at home – be that a laptop, tablet, or kindle, right through to having a strong internet connection or broadband. Lack of access to the appropriate technology has disproportionately affected disadvantaged students, and risks widening the attainment gap even further.
Whilst physical work packs are provided for those who are unable to access their learning online, every effort is being made to ensure that all children can receive their education through live, online lessons, alongside their peers. The efforts to provide greater access to digital resources is critical in ensuring that all children, regardless of background or circumstance, receive a consistent and high-quality education and that no child is left behind.
- 11% of young people accessing the internet at home could not do so with a computer on a broadband connection. A further 6% connect to the internet via dial-up modems, technology that is now two decades old.
- However, for 12% of young people, (approximately 700,000 individuals), it is not possible to use these devices at home, creating challenges for completing school work.
- Three quarters (76%) of those aged 11-15 say they would find it difficult to complete their schoolwork at home without the internet
- Two thirds (66%) of young people rely heavily on digital access to ensure they aren’t missing out on being with friends and feeling left out.
- Three quarters (76%) of 16-18 year olds use the Internet to help them achieve their career ambitions
With this in mind, you find it hard to think about what is yet to come and how children will be able to go back to a normal School life any time soon!
Aquinas Education, a teaching supply agency are helping schools across the UK access technology to help pupils. They believe that no child should be left behind or at a disadvantage to any other child who has access to technology! Aquinas have noticed a decrease in how Schools are currently using supply teachers and know how Schools are currently really struggling. Speaking to the managing director, Craig Anderson, he said:
‘As an agency that speaks to Schools everyday we have regular conversations about how this is damaging the learning for children. Unfortunately not every child is lucky enough to have a device at home where they can just log on and attend the class. This was something we wanted to help with so we decided to launch an appeal for Kindles. We have donated a large amount already ourselves and are asking companies to do the same. These are then distributed to Schools across the UK.’
For more information feel free to visit www.aquinaseducation.co.uk or follow them on instagram @aquinaseducation_london