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Every Child Online launches to 'level up' learning and end digital disadvantage in Tower Hamlets

  • One-in-four school children in Tower Hamlets (approx. 10,000 students) are still unable to access online learning

  • Fear that this digital disadvantage could translate to an education and opportunity gap between those with access and those without

Every Child Online has launched in Tower Hamlets with the hope of ending digital disadvantage. A coalition of the council, broadband provider Community Fibre and a local education partnership are calling for support to ensure every school-aged child has a digital device and an internet connection to access their online learning.

They want to raise £1 million to make an immediate impact where it’s needed most before starting the long-term work of ensuring every school child in the borough has both the kit and the connectivity to level up the digital divide.

The divide between those who can access online learning, and those who cannot, highlights what has been known in education circles for some time - whilst potential is distributed evenly, opportunity is not.

Mayor of Tower Hamlets, John Biggs, said: “Every day of learning lost is a barrier to success for local children. I’m pleased to launch Every Child Online which is putting opportunity back into those households that are digitally disadvantaged. Getting children online and in control of their learning is an essential step towards helping them to realise their potential.”

Every Child Online follows a survey of local schools, which estimated that 10,000 devices are needed, beyond that which has already been provided by the Department of Education. 

Tower Hamlets Council has pledged £50,000 to the total already. In addition, it has coordinated the sourcing, prioritisation and distribution of over 9,000 laptops from the Department for Education, with a further 250 laptops donated by the council directly.

Educators fear that unless the problem is addressed quickly, the gulf between those who have access to learning from home and those who do not will widen and lead to huge differences in attainment and opportunity with life-long consequences for those who find themselves on the wrong side of this digital divide.

Brendan Crossan, Director of Operations, Tower Hamlets Education Partnership, said: “Local schools are delivering fantastic results but, like elsewhere, there is no doubt that Covid-19 has had, and may continue to have, an impact on children’s learning. It’s so important that every child is able to get online to access their education.” 

Graeme Oxby, CEO of Community Fibre, said: “We are delighted to partner with the London Borough of Tower Hamlets and Tower Hamlets Education Partnership to fight digital exclusion. Community Fibre strives to support communities it serves in London and build a more inclusive digital future in the city.  We were the first fixed broadband provider to offer 1-year free 50Mbps broadband to vulnerable households in conjunction with our social landlord partners to help with home schooling through the lockdown.”

You can step up and support digitally disadvantaged school children by donating quickly and securely online at https://cutt.ly/everychild.

For corporate donations, of money or devices, please write to everychildonline@towerhamlets.gov.uk to discuss how you can offer your support.

[ENDS]

Notes to editors:

Read more online at www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/everychildonline

Education in Tower Hamlets

In the last twenty years, education in Tower Hamlets has been transformed through the dedication of its schools, and the hard work of families, students and others.

Attainment and achievement have risen rapidly despite significant socio-economic deprivation. On average, children in Tower Hamlets start school behind their peers, but by the time they finish primary school they score better than the England average in reading, writing and maths.

At the age of 16, Tower Hamlets students are above the national average for a strong pass in maths and English, and many other measures. Children from low-income families do well in our borough: in England, a student from a disadvantaged household is on average 9.3 months behind their peers in school performance, but this narrows to just 1.1 months in Tower Hamlets, one of the smallest gaps in the country (Education Policy Institute, 2020).

Given this success we are determined, working with our education partners, to do everything we can not to allow children to fall behind on their learning and undo the achievements of the past twenty years.

Read more on London Councils: Turning around Tower Hamlets.

Also: Tower Hamlets primary school named State Primary School of the Year 2021.

About Tower Hamlets Education Partnership

The aim of Tower Hamlets Education Partnership (THE Partnership) is to meet the challenge of ensuring that all children and young people in Tower Hamlets achieve the best possible outcomes and flourish through an effective partnership of schools.

THE Partnership is registered as a School Company – a company limited by guarantee with charitable status – owned by its member schools.

Led by schools, for schools, THE Partnership is building on 20 years of excellence in Tower Hamlets and an existing culture of collaborative working to continue to raise standards.

https://www.the-partnership.org.uk/

About Community Fibre

Community Fibre is an award-winning broadband provider, exclusively serving London’s residents and businesses. It is future proofing London communities by operating the fastest 100% full-fibre broadband network throughout the capital. Community Fibre believes in a more digitally inclusive future where everyone has access to reliable and affordable broadband, enabling communities to connect with friends and family and access crucial services online.  

With up to 3Gbps already available to residential homes and 10 Gbps for businesses, at the most competitive prices on the market, Community Fibre is committed to serving London. It is currently available and expanding rapidly in Barnet, Brent, Camden, City of London, Croydon, Ealing, Hackney, Hammersmith and Fulham, Islington, Lambeth, Lewisham, Newham, Richmond upon Thames, Southwark, Sutton, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest, Wandsworth and Westminster. 

Community Fibre was named the UK’s best Consumer Internet Service Provider at Internet Service Provider Association (ISPA) Awards 2020 and the Operator of the Year at World Communication Awards 2020. Community Fibre was also recognised by customers with the #1 ranking it holds for internet provider on Trustpilot.

Media Contacts 

Tower Hamlets communications team

communications@towerhamlets.gov.uk

AxiCom for Community Fibre 

communityfibre@axicom.com 

Posted on Friday 19th February 2021