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inspiring learning through technology

MtG Toolkit

Mind the Gap

 

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5 steps to 100% success

When you register your school with the Mind the Gap campaign you will be contacted by the Learning Foundation who will either ask you some questions to validate your claim of 100% connected pupils, or they will need to find out how big a challenge it is going to be to get everyone online at your school. To help you with this, you will find a downloadable survey on the next page once you register.

They will help with any questions about the information and resources in the Toolkit, and, through understanding your situation, will ensure your school gets any additional help or grants that become available through the campaign appeal

The toolkit

Step 1: Register your school for the Mind the Gap

Once you have registered we will be able to give your school priority access to offers we have secured from the IT industry and Internet providers, some of which are free, that will help you achieve your goal.

Step 2: Identify which of your pupils cannot get online at home

A paper based survey is best, and you can use this one to collect this vital information. Depending on the age of the children, they may be able to fill it in themselves. Where younger children are concerned the survey form may have to be sent home. The most important returns are the ones you don’t get back, so you may need to use a range of methods such as engaging with your community support staff to find out the situation with your hard to reach families.

We have a Family Survey template that includes all the questions we require you to ask but you can top and tail it with your own words, any addition questions you wish to ask and your own branding.

We have also provided a simple Survey Analysis Spreadsheet to help you analyse the results of the survey, identify those without or with alternative access and then capture how you have resolved their problem.

Step 3: Design your programme

The survey results will identify how many pupils do not have access to the internet at home and what kind of barriers their parents face in providing access. The barriers may be physical (they may live in a Broadband black spot), financial (they may not qualify for credit so can’t have a BT line) or legal (they may live in a blacklisted property due to previous tenants' non-payment). So a number of solutions may be necessary to address everyone’s situation.

If your school already provides pupils with a portable device (laptop, netbook, tablet, etc) that they can take home then it might be practical to provide those without broadband at home with a 3G version of the device, or supply them with a pre-paid or Pay As You Go dongle or SIM card for their device.

If your school does not provide pupils with their own devices to take home then we can help you create a strategy to support and encourage the families to get online at home.

If you need help and support with this process, email info@learningfoundation.org.uk

Step 4: Funding

We are not asking you to pay for the Internet for your unconnected families except in those few exceptional cases where you may be the only support available. We believe that if encouraged in the right way your families will see the value of the Internet. You should consider the following;

  • Encourage your parents to invest in the Internet at home to help their children’s learning
  • Work with your parents to take advantage of the Mind the Gap promotional offers – stay tuned to find out more
  • Work with local community support agencies, housing associations etc; to understand what support is available
  • In cases of genuine deprivation consider allocating some of your Pupil Premium funds to assist children eligible for Free School Meals

STEP 5: Implementation

Once you have identified which families need support to get online:

  • Set out the case to parents on how their children will benefit from being online at home; give examples of things they will be able to do, educational benefits etc
  • Provide an introductory session at school for parents on how to use the Internet, and specifically how it will help their children, or signpost parents to a local UK Online Centre. An excellent resource for course content can be found here making it even easier to provide basic training
  • Think about ways that you can encourage family learning through the Internet
  • Work with your community support agencies to secure support and funding if required
  • Identify how you will deploy Pupil Premium funding if required
  • Support Internet safety and netiquette training for pupils and their parents/carers, encourage parents to set parental controls at the appropriate levels
  • Help families get affordable computers at home
  • Help families get online at home
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