Council joins forces with The Rothschild Foundation to help all disadvantaged pupils in Bucks to get online
Schoolchildren of all ages across the county will not miss out on accessing online learning thanks to a joint investment by a local charity and extra funding from Buckinghamshire Council.
Earlier this year the Department for Education (DfE) agreed funding for schools to purchase digital devices for families who did not have suitable equipment or wifi for their children to go online to access schoolwork. This funding was targeted at children from Year 3 up to Year 11.
Spotting a gap for younger children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2, the council was approached by Bucks-based charity, The Rothschild Foundation who have offered a generous £130,000 donation for a similar scheme for younger children from disadvantaged families.
The funding will enable infant schools in the county to purchase digital devices for children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 who are in receipt of free school meals. The council has been working with schools to identify eligible pupils.
In addition, Buckinghamshire Council is investing a further £40,000 to boost funding for the DfE scheme to ensure all schoolchildren across all age groups within the county can get online and access education and learning.
Schools have been asked to choose the best device for their needs, in terms of the technology they use to provide remote learning for pupils. If required the funding will also be used to purchase an initial two month internet connection for families. The devices will be owned by the schools.
Anita Cranmer, Cabinet Member for Education & Skills said: “We are extremely grateful to The Rothschild Foundation for their generous donation and we are pleased as a council to be able to provide additional funds so that none of our children miss out.
“Together with the funding from the Department for Education we are able to ensure all our children, from the very youngest in those important early years of education, up to the older ones preparing for exams, are not further disadvantaged by not being able to fully access the current learning that is taking place online.
“Nothing can obviously replace the real classroom, teacher and physical school environment but this funding means that our more disadvantaged children are at least able to keep up with their peers and not fall further behind due to circumstances that are out of their control.”
Ellie Stout, Head of Grants at The Rothschild Foundation said: “Digital and social exclusion are inter-related and by working with Buckinghamshire Council and our county’s schools, we want to achieve greater equity for young people in Bucks. We have witnessed first-hand the positive impact of young people being able to access digital support, both in terms of their education and being able to virtually connect with their friends and teachers.”