Liverpool City Council is asking businesses if they can help children and young people get online and keep learning during the latest lockdown.
In a new initiative – Devices and Dongles – supported by Liverpool Chamber of Commerce, businesses are being asked to donate unwanted laptops and tablets or to sponsor Wi-Fi dongles and data packages so that vulnerable pupils can continue their education at home.
Devices must be:
- Less than three years old
- Recently PAT tested
- Returned to their original configuration.
The government has recently widened its definition of a vulnerable child to include those who may have difficulty engaging with remote education at home. This means that the city’s schools have seen an increase of pupils in classrooms during the current lockdown.
A recent survey of Liverpool schools by the council on remote education (with responses from 118 out of 161 schools) revealed:
- At least 6,373 children and young people do not have access to a digital device at home that is suitable for remote education
- At least 3,283 children and young people do not have access to a suitable home internet connection
- At least 1,405 children are attending school because they have difficultly accessing remote education.
Since the pandemic, Liverpool’s schools have been able to secure some digital devices through the Department for Education’s (DfE) Get Help with Technology scheme that launched in September.
Over 7,000 devices were supplied for Y3-11 pupils last term with a further 2,347 devices provided by the DfE during June and July 2020 for disadvantaged Y10 pupils, care leavers and children with a social worker.
Cllr Barbara Murray, cabinet member for education, employment and skills, said:
“Our teachers have been working incredibly hard to make sure that children can continue learning at home but for many families that has been a challenge.
“The council and schools have been doing everything we can to get digital devices into homes and we have made a lot of progress but the recent lockdown has highlighted the digital divide in our communities.
“We’re appealing to any businesses that may have kit they no longer need to consider donating it and if they could sponsor Wi-Fi access, even for a limited period, that would make a massive difference to a vulnerable child’s attainment.
“Our thanks also go to the Chamber of Commerce for helping us to drive our appeal – businesses are going through a tough time at the moment and this commitment means a great deal.”
Paul Cherpeau, chief executive, Liverpool Chamber of Commerce, said:
“The pandemic is further exacerbating the inequalities in our society and it is in all our interests to give every young person in our city the best chance to continue their education through this lockdown period.
“Digital poverty is a huge barrier to our city’s prospects of future economic growth and the development of outstanding talent within our region. The Chamber is determined to support this initiative and encourages our city’s businesses to support in any way they can.”
For more information on how to donate devices or how to sponsor Wi-Fi dongles email firstname.lastname@example.org putting “Devices and Dongles” in the subject title.
Donations and sponsorship can be shared on social media using #Devices&Dongles