Our vision & principles

Our vision is to fully address the current situation where, despite growth in home access to the internet, there are still more than 2 million children and young people in the UK who have little or no access to a device or cannot get online at home.

Our vision

Our vision is to fully address the current situation where, despite growth in home access to the internet, there are still more than 2 million children in the UK who have little or no access to a device or cannot get online at home, limiting their education opportunities, their chances of reaching their full potential as individuals and hindering their development of digital skills for life and for work.

Launched as a registered charity in 2001, our aim is to ensure all children have access at home and at school to exciting learning resources so that they may fulfil their potential and overcome disadvantage. We achieve this by working in partnership with schools, parents, charities and businesses. In the 20 years since we launched we have been involved in programmes which directly affect thousands of school pupils.

We know that children achieve their potential when they feel engaged with learning. So we enable teachers and parents to inspire engagement through technology.

For 20 years we have been providing independent advice and guidance to a wide variety of schools on the best way to introduce 1:1 technology, where every child has their own device to use in class and at home. 

What we believe

If the UK is to maintain its leading digital nation status then it is vital that all young people leave school confident and competent users of IT. This is not happening, and will hold back the young people and the wider UK economy.

Learning technologies are an essential resource for a 21st century education for all ages and across the curriculum. Schools and teachers need to be encouraged and supported to adopt them. The DfE Edtech Deomsrator programme is a valuable resource for schools and SLT to look at the experience of others before committing time and resource to their digital ambitions.

All Government funded and backed digital inclusion and digital skills programmes should be required to consider the specific needs of young people still in full-time education and especially those that continue to be disconnected from valuable interaction with the digital world.

Our strategy & principles

Our strategy has evolved over the 20 years since we launched and our latest strategy took us from 2015 to 2020. We publish this here to give you an insight into how we work and our ambitions. Our new strategy will be published later this year but will maintain our focus on those children and schools that most need our help – those schools with the highest level of children qualifying for Pupil Premium support and those that struggle at the lower end of attainment.

What we do and why:

Key principles

  1. Access for all children

To support digital access for all children and particularly those whose circumstances adversely affect their ability to achieve their full educational potential. We believe that when children and young people are given the chance to reach their full potential, this impacts positively on their options for life.

  1. Supporting teaching & learning

We believe that technology-enabled learning, particularly when delivered through a 1:1 device access programme, has the capability to uplift learning for all children, to aid the closure of the attainment gap and encourage struggling learners to reach their full educational potential. There is compelling evidence demonstrating that personal access to a digital device also impacts positively on learning attitudes, confidence, wellbeing, behaviour and homework habits as well as preparing young people for an increasingly digital life. We will therefore support schools in introducing effective and sustainable programmes – where every child has their own device to allow learning to take place at school and at home. We will do this as independent and experienced experts.

  1. Sharing responsibility

We view good access to learning technologies as a shared responsibility, with schools and families each playing their roles. We will work through schools and families as the most effective route; ensuring that linking children with technology is done within an educational and supportive framework. In this way, we are also able to scale our work to impact larger numbers of children more quickly.

Current state – Context and environment

  • There are currently more than 2 million school-aged children who have inadequate access to a device or connectivity at home. The reasons for being disconnected at home are numerous with poverty and a non-English speaking household being foremost.
  • The gap in attainment at age 7 is 31% percentage points between those children from the poorest and those from the wealthiest families.
  • Approximately 20% of schools currently have anything approaching a 1:1 scheme
  • Each year approximately 15% of young people leave school functionally illiterate. And now, we can also add that they will also lack the digital skills they need to fully participate and benefit from the digital world.

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Our objectives

1. Access for all children

We will work to ensure that, by 2020 no child, whose disadvantage affects their full development at school, will be without access to technology-enabled learning at school and at home.

We will focus on children whose disadvantage leads to their being unable to develop to their full educational potential – whatever the cause: poverty, disability or access. We believe that the best route to supporting these children is through their schools so that their learning is structured and sustainable. We will also find ways to support children at home.

Our focus will be on children of primary school age. As the attainment gap builds during early years to levels where it becomes difficult for secondary schools to impact positively by the time children arrive. The focus for change needs to be at this formative stage. We will work directly and proactively with primary schools and will also promote the importance of this to secondary schools, encouraging them to support their feeder primaries.

2. Supporting teaching & learning

We will focus on and support the closure of the attainment gap by enabling effective teaching linked to the best use of technology enabled learning.

Our focus will include promoting 1:1 as an effective way of impacting on learning and the attainment gap. We will ensure schools are well-informed and supported in equipping themselves and starting to benefit from technology enabled learning. We will provide direct consultancy advice to schools and signpost them to key partners and other sources. We will advise on anything from infrastructure and finance to CPD and teacher training, individual child-centred learning and parental engagement. We will assist schools to engage in programmes which are equitable and sustainable.

We will continue to be differentiated on the basis of encouraging 1:1 technology (device, content & internet access) but evolve increasingly towards ‘content’ aimed at learning outcomes and improving attainment levels across the board.

We will be the key independent and objective “Go-To” place for information, advice and research on technology-enabled learning for teachers, schools and parents.

3. Sharing responsibility

We want to effect change as soon as possible; we will therefore work with partners who share our broad objectives and can add scale and reach.

We will work with partners in government, major charitable and not-for-profit organisations, companies and others to deliver support and advice to children through working with them directly and within their families and relevant and appropriate institutions.

We will work with industry sector leaders and renowned experts and practitioners; with parents, families, schools and communities, Teaching Unions, PTAs and School Governors locally and nationally.

 

What we will do

1. Direct support

i. Access – identifying priority children and schools

ii. Support – for teaching and schools

iii. Sharing – working with and through partners

2. Research & information

i. Compiling and curating a compelling evidence base

ii. Continue to work closely with other educational stakeholders

iii. Through the Foundation’s own research work

3. Advocacy, campaigning, PR and profile

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How we will measure ourselves

Access for all children
  • Numbers of Pupil Premium children supported and numbers of all children benefitting from our work
  • Numbers of schools we are working with and numbers adopting 1:1 schemes
Supporting teaching and learning
  • Impact on children – attainment/motivation/engagement
  • Assessment and feedback from schools, parents and students
Sharing responsibility
  • Financial sustainability of programmes and of the Foundation
  • Using agreed common frameworks agreed across partnerships where possible

1 - Equity of access

We work with schools that seek to provide equity of access.  To us this means that every child in a cohort or year group has the same ability and opportunity to access and benefit equally from their school’s technology. We don’t just mean in the classroom and around the school premises but at home as well.

Access to this technology is the right of every child, regardless of their parents’ ability to contribute to or participate in the programme.

2 - Sustainability

Sustainability is at the heart of our model. The education world is littered with projects that grind to a halt three years on when the equipment needs replacing. We work with our partner schools to identify funding solutions that are long-term and sustainable ensuring that the school can replace equipment when it needs replacing, and can also expand its learning activities to eventually include every single pupil at the school.

3 - Home access

Home access is absolutely fundamental to success. The Foundation works hard to support schools looking to extend access to IT beyond the school gate and in ensuring home access and broadband is universally available. Research confirms that high levels of home access to a computer and to the internet makes a significant impact on the learning outcomes of schoolchildren as the children and their parents engage with learning after the school day has finished.

4 - Partnerships

The Foundation has big ambitions and this combined with a sense of urgency means that the task is beyond a single organisation. We are committed to working in partnerships with other individuals and agencies who share a common aim or link with a shared audience. These partnerships are genuinely two-way and mutual with each of us contributing however and whatever we can to reach the children, the schools, the families or communities that most need our support.

In 2021 we launched a new initiative – Digital Access for All.

This was augmented in 2021 with the launch of the Digital Poverty Alliance which is committed to ending digital poverty once and for all by 2030.

From the outset, the Foundation has adopted four key criteria that set out our objectives for school programmes and we continue to abide by them today…

graphic showing our principles: equity of access, sustainability, home access and partnerships

We believe:

… that technology enabled learning can play a key role in helping to close the attainment gap


… that no school should make payments by parents, or their credit worthiness, a condition of whether a child is provided with personal IT

The use of Pupil Premium funds to close the attainment gap through the provision of learning technology for use at home as well as at school is a recognised and an approved course of action for schools. Schools need to consider the home access of all pupils when developing Pupil Premium strategies and be prepared to allocate funds to ensure all their children are online.


… that the loss of many sources of independent advice on IT has left many schools uncertain how to make progress, unclear where to get impartial advice, and vulnerable to the vested interests of consultants and suppliers.


… that high-quality teacher professional development is a pre-requisite of effective IT implementation and that schools ensure that CPD is always fully costed into the budget for any one-to-one programme.


… that technology is an important contribution to improving the level and quality of parental engagement. Schools need to build parental engagement into their learning programmes so that educational benefits are maximised.

teacher receiving laptops
primary school teacher in classroom
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