17th January 2013
750,000 kids without home access
In 2010, 55% of GCSE students at Bolton’s Essa Accademy achieved A*to C grades. Today, it’s 100%. Why? Because Essa’s plans to improve performance included giving students access to a tablet and smartphone – pre-loaded with GCSE revision podcasts and 100,000 textbooks – and encouraged study at a personal pace.
The web’s increasingly improving teaching standards, with better education outcomes thanks to a combination of online and classroom tuition. But, there’s a widening gap between students with and without home access to the web.
Shockingly, recent e-Learning Foundation figures (using ONS data) show that while 99% of children from the richest 10% of households have home access to the web via a computer, this plummets to 57% of the poorest. That’s 750,000 school age children living in households without internet access, and 650,000 without a computer. Worryingly, Oxford University research shows that teens without web access are left “educationally disadvantaged”.
E-Learning Foundation Chief Exec Valerie Thompson commented that children without home internet "lose out big time". "These new statistics show the digital divide is still a major issue for this country's young people”, she said. “Poverty is clearly a factor in poor access to digital learning technologies and poor performance at school. The link between the two cannot be ignored."
An Oxford University interview with a 14 year old boy revealed that he feels it’s harder to complete coursework without a home computer: "People with internet [at home] can get higher marks because they can research on the internet." Strikingly, the study also shows that many of the perceived risks connected with using the net – such as adverse effects on concentration – are far outweighed by the benefits.
- The e-Learning Foundation is making fantastic strides to tackle this important issue. Find out more about its work