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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
… 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.