Below are some of the most common questions we get asked by parents.
If you have a question that is not listed below please ask us and we will do our best to answer it for you, or direct you to somewhere that should be able to help you.
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Why do our children need their own computer?
Research from organisations like Techknowledge for Schools has identified many key reasons why children benefit from having their own computer (what we call a 1:1 programme - where every child has access to their own computer) - the key reasons are:
- Preparing students for working a digital age - children need to be prepared for an increasingly digital world and this will give them an important opportunity to develop the necessary skills. Research has confirmed that children with good home access to technology get better grades.
- Students can work more independently - children are able to pursue learning in a way that suits them best - their preferred style and interests.
- Collaborative learning - research shows that encouraging students to reach out to one another to solve problems not only builds collaboration skills which are so useful in life and for future employment but this collaborative learning leads to development of deeper learning and understanding.
- Ownership of Learning – Anytime & Anywhere. Having their own computer enables a child to access education whenever and wherever it suits them. This can significantly increase the amount of learning time that a child has and enables them to catch up or even stay in touch when they are ill, for instance.
- Equality of access - this is one of the key reasons for our work. Many children already enjoy access to devices for personal and school use. But this is far from true for everyone. It is our ambition to ensure every child has the access that they need to a device at school and at home to give them the same opportunities as those that already do.
Schools are expected to provide learning resources on their Learning Platforms, many of which presuppose that a student can go online at home to complete an assignment, access the school's online learning resources, email their assignment or run through a lesson they missed. We work with schools to ensure they are taking full account of those children who don't yet have that and supporting them to do what they can to change this so that all children can benefit.
Why can't the school provide these for nothing?
Schools have suffered huge cuts particularly to capital budgets, making it extremely hard for them to provide more and more hardware to pupils while trying to replace existing equipment that has stopped working.
Of course there is never enough money to do everything that they want to and this is why schools pick up all of the costs that they can but may ask you to help share costs for programmes such as 1:1 learning programmes.
Your help is crucial in ensuring that not only your son or daughter can benefit but all children in the school can benefit too and the school can run the programme in the sure knowledge that there is help at hand from you and the other parents.
Can't I go and buy a cheaper computer down the High Street?
It may well be possible to buy the device cheaper elsewhere. But - if your school is asking you to make a regular contribution over a period of time then you need to make sure that you are comparing like with like. In addition to the basic cost of the computer you should add in the warranty, insurance, carrying case and technical support.
It will be loaded with all the educational software your child needs and will allow your child to access the school's online resource centre or learning platform too. All of these additional matters will be included in the cost to you.
Because they are often buying in larger numbers you may well find that the package is cheaper and better than you would be able to find yourself. In some cases, the school will also provide facilities for families to come and brush up on their computing skills or even gain recognised qualifications.
Will my child be safe carrying the computer home?
We all need to be aware of the risks the children could face on their way home but the number of recorded incidents is surprisingly low. All computers are security tagged and protected, but if a child is approached for their computer, they should hand it over without resistance and then inform you so you can let the Police and the school know.
You can find more information about safety in our 'safety & security' section.
Who owns the computer?
It depends on the kind of programme the school is running. Under a programme where you are making a voluntary donation, the computers are normally the property of the school while the programme is running.
Your contribution is a charitable donation towards the programme, not a payment towards the computer. However, when the programme comes to an end, after two to three years, the school are likely to offer the computers to families at their market value which often quite a small amount.