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Financing a 1:1 programme

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Financing a 1:1 programme within a school is currently way outside the ability of most schools. Many are suffering from the early days of computer introduction.  Computers don’t last and, even if they did, with the speed technology moves a 3 year life span is the most you can hope for if you are going to be able to offer the full potential that can be gained from using technology effectively in teaching and learning.

With the availability of powerful and portable devices at viable prices it is now possible for schools to cast off the outdated ICT suite and truly embrace technology but for the one big barrier, the cost.

Providing every child with a device is only part of the cost of setting up a programme. You need high capacity broadband and a very robust WiFi and you need to commit to a considerable amount of staff training, software or Apps etc. With the lack of Government funding for any of these elements, it means that a school has to find other ways of funding a sustainable programme. This is where the Learning Foundation’s support and guidance comes in. Helping schools understand how it can be achieved and continue to be provided year after year.

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What are the principles of a 1:1 programme?

What are the principles of a 1:1 programme?

This is something that we encourage schools to consider very carefully. It is important that they not only deliver the key objectives they had set for the programme but also adhere to our core principles.

This is something that we encourage schools to consider very carefully. It is important that they not only deliver the key objectives they had set for the programme but also adhere to our core principles.

  • Equity/Fairness – Ensure every student can benefit from the device regardless of financial circumstances. The school will usually ask (and hope) that all parents who are able to donate will do so.
  • Sustainability – Ensure that the programme is sustainable for the school for the long term.
  • Effectiveness – Ensure that the investment of time and resource made by the school, parents and students delivers effective and enhanced learning and opportunities for everyone.
  • Affordability – Ensuring that the school and its community can participate fully and the programme is sustainable.
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Why do schools ask for parental contributions?

Why do schools ask for parental contributions?

Schools currently receive limited funding for ICT, and this gets quickly spent on the network, ICT suites, printers, etc. Equipment for use at home and for personal use by children is over and above this, which is why schools often ask for a voluntary contribution. Without that help these programmes would not be able to go ahead or be able to support all children equitably. It is also critical that any programme is sustainable and parental contributions help enormously with that.

How much do schools ask parents to donate?

How much do schools ask parents to donate?

Schools will normally ask for a donation of around £10 to £15 a month depending on the device. Most programmes like this where donations are given by parents also qualify for Gift Aid which is worth 25% of all donations made by parents who are UK taxpayers and have signed the Gift Aid declaration. The Gift Aid provides a valuable top up to the programme and helps the school support those families less able to pay the requested donation amount.

What happens if a parent can’t afford to donate?

What happens if a parent can’t afford to donate?

No child should be excluded from a programme because of their family's financial circumstances and we encourage parents and schools to talk and find a donation level that is achievable. There are often some funds set aside to help subsidise the scheme for those in challenging circumstances and Pupil Premium support is also able to be applied. Schools understand, for those families with several children, that they may also not be able to donate the full suggested amount for each child. Schools will only ever ask parents to help however they can and there is never any compulsion to take part.

Why should some parents donate if others don’t?

Why should some parents donate if others don’t?

A programme is generally only viable if parents want it, and are prepared to contribute to make it happen. While families in difficult circumstances will normally be accommodated, unless there is widespread support for the programme then the school will not be able to run the programme.

Donating to a programme is not simply buying a device for your own child but helping every child in every class in every year group - and for those who will join the school in the future.

What if a parent doesn’t want to take part?

What if a parent doesn’t want to take part?

While encouraging all families to take part, a school will understand that making a contribution will be beyond the means of some parents, and it is also their right to choose not to be involved. A parent may choose to opt out for a number of reasons. It may be in conflict with their beliefs or they may just believe that it is wrong to use technology in education. Where a parent has chosen to consciously opt out the school will of course respect this and their child will not be provided with their own device to take home and may need to share in the classroom with other students.

Why do donations go to the Learning Foundation?

Why do donations go to the Learning Foundation?

The Learning Foundation is a registered education charity that collects monthly parental donations on behalf of schools and helps to save on the school's administration time and costs. By collecting donations every month the Foundation is able to collect and add Gift Aid where applicable, and then grant the money back to the school to pay the bills.

Can't you buy it cheaper on the High Street?

Can't you buy it cheaper on the High Street?

It may well be possible to buy the device on its own for less than the total of the donations requested by the school. It is important to remember however that the donation covers the programme, rather more than just the device. A school e-learning programme will normally provide a device that is covered in case of loss or damage or if repairs are needed. It will come with a case and often with a package of initial Apps and security etc. Schools will also normally provide technical support whilst at school and students will have access to learning resources on their school’s learning environment.

What if a parent already owns the same device?

What if a parent already owns the same device?

Sometimes a pupil may already has access to exactly the same device that the school is planning to use. In these cases it may well be possible to agree something with the school to use this device instead of contributing to another. However there may well be security and insurance issues and the device may not be able to be supported by the school. There are other reasons why it is not an ideal solution, for example there may not be sufficient memory available, the device may not be used exclusively by the pupil at home and so access to it may be limited. Schools will understandably need to discuss all of these situations before agreeing to allow the use of the device within the programme.

What happens when the programme finishes?

What happens when the programme finishes?

At the end of the programme it is likely that parents will have the opportunity to make a separate payment to buy the device outright. This needs to be based on the market value at the time and is often in the region of £30 or £40 depending on the device. Otherwise the device is simply returned to the school.

Many schools now also ask for a voluntary security deposit at the beginning of the programme to cover any exceptional damage etc. If the deposit hasn't been used (as is generally the case) it is often used to cover the end of programme purchase price of the device. Otherwise it will be refunded.

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