The Digital Education Partnership was initially bought together by BEP as a response to the impact of Covid 19 on the education and well-being of the children and young people in Birmingham. The Coronavirus crisis is causing unprecedented challenges for our schools and highlighting the invisible barrier to learning and attainment caused by tech poverty.
The group currently consists of:
The Coronavirus crisis is causing unprecedented challenges for our schools and highlighting the invisible barrier to learning and attainment caused by tech poverty. The closing of schools as an essential step in the battle against coronavirus, means that for the vast majority of children, their own homes are now their only setting for learning and wellbeing support. Our sample data indicates that there are well over 5000 children/families that need digital connection in Birmingham, which can mean needing internet connection or a device or both. The complexity of the problem is only just surfacing, clearly showing that just finding funding to alleviate the problem of a lack of devices and connectivity is only part of the solution. The current demand for devices is extraordinary and the impact on the supply chain means that prices are high and availability severely restricted. We cannot just buy our way out of this very easily or quickly. Over the last couple of weeks, we have been collecting some donated kit and refurbishing as Chromebooks using Neverware to give new life to old devices. These are being passed on where nothing else is available.
The Digital Education Partnership is working hard to help schools to unlock existing resources so that existing stock and repurposed devices from within our schools can be safely used in the first instance to alleviate the worst of the problems. Above all making sure that safeguarding measures for on line learning are in place is also a huge priority for us.
We will be working independently of the recent measures announced by the Government because welcome as they are, they don’t go far enough, quickly enough. Every day counts in the education and well-being of a child. We welcome what the Government is doing to assist those in need and believe our work will supplement that by unlocking existing resources to provide a faster, more direct solution in some of the most deprived areas of the city. We are focusing on the needs of vulnerable children across all age groups, both Primary and Secondary. Like you, we know that digital exclusion can further entrench existing disadvantage and that vulnerable groups can benefit disproportionately from being online.
Focus of the Group
To work in partnership to;