Nationally the need to address digital poverty is an emerging issue. Here in Calderdale we have many children who cannot fully access lessons during lockdown because they do not have a device to work on and/ or they have no internet connection. We know that for many families the cost of paying for expensive wifi is impacting on their budgets and wellbeing.
Remote learning is not an ideal way to learn but teachers and support staff are doing an amazing job of adapting lessons to the new normal. The BBC and Oak Academy as well as other providers are producing a wealth of resources to support home learning. This can work really well where children have a device to work on and where they can connect online but we know that where his is not the case learning suffers and gaps are widening for the most disadvantaged pupils.
There are campaign to donate devices to help families in need and in many cases this approach will help. The Valley Partnership made the decision not to follow this route as experience has shown that many of the donated devices need a high level of technical support to get them up and running effectively and safely; to make them safe to use in terms of wiping hard drives and to upload appropriate software and learning platforms. Even when all of this has been done the devices are often slow and frustrating to work on; there is after all a reason why they are no longer being used. The end the digital divide crowfund project for Calderdal will focus on providing new devices with up to date operating systems and which can be set up quickly for the families who need them.
Please make a donation. You can see the campaign at https://www.rocketfund.org/end-the-digital-divide-for-calderdale-pupils