How to support disadvantaged children with their online learning

Jan 15, 2021 1:29:16 PM / by Elle Houghton

On 8th January 2021, The EverLearner set up a £10,000 fund which teachers could apply to help their most disadvantaged children during the national lockdown. Within just one day the entirety of the fund had been distributed to teachers in need. The stories we have been hearing from fellow colleagues and Edtech companies up and down the country are nothing short of harrowing.  

Students need more help and teachers are desperate to help them, but the funds are not there. The digital divide is widening.

That’s why we have set up a GoFundMe page. Our goal is to raise a £50,000 fund for disadvantaged children in the UK who are struggling to complete their online learning. And we need your help.  

 

Not everyone has access to Edtech 

In the UK today there are still 1.8 million children 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. And as you can imagine, home-schooling and online learning is near impossible without access to the internet.

Similarly, 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 you can 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, all you have to do is go to this GoFundMe page and donate. Even just £5 will help towards providing a device to a disadvantaged family and contribute to closing that ever-expanding digital divide.

 

How the fund works

Our model is a very simple one. We will allocate the money 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.

What’s more, we are interested in hearing from individuals who would like to oversee our process of distributing the fund’s money. It is important to us that our processes are transparent; colleagues with experience of charitable donations and/or schools are welcomed to observe how we do this. Please do feel free to get in touch by emailing elle@theeverlearner.com

The need for action is urgent. Together we can do so much more to fight against this digital divide which is causing huge strain on our most disadvantaged children. We must allow students, irrespective of their socio-economic background, to access high-quality education.

Please visit our GoFundMe page and donate what you can.

Disadvantaged children, Disadvantaged students, Online learning, Edtech, Digital divide, Home schooling 

Tags: disadvantaged children, disadvantaged learners, online learning, edtech, digital divide, Home schooling

Elle Houghton

Written by Elle Houghton

Elle is an MFL teacher with over 10 years' experience and the Marketing and Sales Manager at TheEverLearner.