Currently, there are around 1.8 million children in the UK without adequate electronic devices at home for learning, despite the government’s laptop scheme.
Of those disadvantaged students, only 880,000 have access to internet connection. A mere 51% of households with an income between £6,000-£10,000 per year have internet access, compared to 99% of households with an income of £40,000 or more. Home-schooling and online learning is near impossible without access to the internet.
Students need more help and teachers are desperate to help them, but the funds are not there. The digital divide is widening.
‘The People’s Fund’ is a new GoFundMe page with the goal of raising £50,000 for disadvantaged children in the UK who are struggling to complete their online learning.
A survey by Teach First, found that only 2% of teachers working in the most disadvantaged schools believed their students had sufficient access to digital devices.
Russell Hobby, Teach First CEO, commented: “This is a stark reminder of the significant challenges faced by schools serving disadvantaged communities. It’s not right that some children will fall further behind at school simply because their families can’t afford laptops and internet access.”
Access to devices and the internet is not the only challenge faced by students. Mobile data usage is yet another barrier. Whilst major phone companies are offering increased data packages, this is only offered to those with pay-monthly contracts. With the vast majority of children from less affluent areas having ‘pay as you go’ phones, the digital divide gets bigger.
How can you help?
Schools are currently expected to offer high quality remote lessons with students completing three to five hours of learning each day, whether that be through online learning, live classes or using Edtech. That means, disadvantaged children are missing out. Intervention is needed now, otherwise there will be a devastating impact for a generation.
To help, head to this GoFundMe page and donate to ‘The People’s Fund’. Even just £5 will help towards providing a device to a disadvantaged family and contribute to closing that ever-expanding digital divide.
How does the fund work?
‘The People’s Fund’ model is a very simple one. Money is allocated directly to the classroom teacher who applies, they can then buy or invest in exactly what the individual students need. Everything is overseen by their headteacher via the school finance office. This is targeted intervention and will get straight to the heart of the issue that the student is experiencing.
To donate, visit: The People’s Fund.