Digital divide: Six children sharing one phone for homework

Holgate family

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Six children shared a phone they were using to do their homework in school

A family using a phone among six children for schoolwork said that a donated tablet “made a big difference”.

Swindon’s Michelle Holgate said that while they were out of school during the coronavirus block, she assigned her phone sessions every hour.

He said one was “so stressed out, saying everything will fail.”

Research for BBC Children In Need has shown that around one million children and young people do not have adequate access to devices or the Internet from home.

The Holgate family said the tablet, donated by a BBC viewer who saw the family’s situation highlighted on the Points West regional news program, means that children could now “produce a better job.”

Before then, small amounts of time had been allocated online by Mother Michelle.

The kids started working online again every week, but said it was difficult for them to keep up.

Since schools closed in March, families in the most deprived areas have been hit hardest when the digital divide has opened up between those who have and those who don’t.

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Richard Johnson’s school received seven laptops

Research for BBC Children in Need, conducted in April, showed the problems that one million children in the UK had online.

In addition, an estimated 700,000 young children do not have the skills and devices they need to do their homework

A spokesman for the Department of Education (DfE) said the government was “clear in its commitment that no children should be left behind because of the coronavirus.”

“That’s why we’ve provided over £ 100 million to support children in learning at home, including the delivery of over 200,000 laptops and tablets,” added the spokesman.

It also partnered with BT to provide low-income families with free access to the web on up to three devices at a time for six months.

Richard Johnson, the head of the Severn Vale school in Gloucestershire, applied for laptops according to the government scheme and received seven.

“We know that around 50% are using their phones and the digital divide is growing,” said Johnson.

Many charities and companies have put in place schemes to accept donations of old laptops, tablets and phones which they refurbish and then provide to schools for pupils.

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Charlie, 14, is doing all his homework on the phone

Charlie, 14, who is expected to support his GCSE in 2021, has done all his homework on the phone.

“I find it very, very stressful and to be honest sometimes I find it too much and I don’t work at all,” he said.

Schools are expected to reopen in September and the DfE said it has launched a £ 1 billion Covid recovery fund “to directly address the impact of teaching time lost due to the pandemic.”

Anyone with a device they would like to donate can visit the BBC Make A Difference website to find out how to donate and what equipment is needed.

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