Every Child Online
Photo: Zainab, Year 5, and friends and Lansbury Lawrence school (credit: Rehan Jamil)
One-in-four school children in Tower Hamlets (approx. 10,000 students) are digitally disadvantaged - unable to access online learning because they have no device of their own, no connection to the internet, or both.
This is despite best efforts from the Department for Education to distribute over 1.3 million devices nationwide. Unfortunately, locally, our share of these devices (9,212 as at 16 Feb) currently falls short of what is needed by nearly ten thousand.
There’s a real danger that this disadvantage will translate in the long-term to an education and opportunity gap between children with access, and those without, in Tower Hamlets, and across the country.
The council and its partners are looking to raise £1 million to make an immediate impact where it’s needed most before they begin the long-term work of ensuring every single school child in Tower Hamlets has both the kit and the connectivity to 'level up' the digital divide and help those in need access their online learning.
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.”
To donate, please visit www.justgiving.com/campaign/everychildonline
The council has pledged £50,000 to the total already, in addition to coordinating the sourcing, prioritisation and distribution of approximately 9,200 laptops directly to schools from the Department for Education, with a further 250 donated by the council directly.
For corporate donations, of money or devices, please email Every Child Online (please do not write to this address to ask if you are eligible for a device).
If you’d like to show your support for Every Child Online, we would encourage you to copy and paste the following message and share using your favourite social media networks, including WhatsApp:
1-in-4 children in Tower Hamlets is digitally disadvantaged with no access to online learning. If we don't act now, this will lead to a long-term education and opportunity gap between those with access and those without.
Help us get #EveryChildOnline ► https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/everychildonline
Your child’s school will contact you once they have devices if you are eligible - please be patient.
Getting online on a budget: BT Basic
BT can provide a low-cost telephone service for people on specific means-tested benefits - giving peace of mind that they can be connected to the internet on a budget.
To be eligible you must be receiving one of the following means-tested benefits:
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
- Pensions Credit (Guaranteed Credit)
- Employment and Support Allowance (Income related)
- Universal Credit (and are on zero earnings)
The price is capped so that customers pay no more than £20.07 per month for phone and broadband. It could even cost as little as £15.16 per month, depending on how you use your phone plan.
For more information on eligibility, the offer and getting connected visit BT.com.
What other support in available to get online?
There are various schemes right now to support families with school children to get online:
- Contact your school or college directly to learn what support is available via the Department for Education, which includes a free data boost for your mobile phone if you do not have broadband internet access at home
- Visit the Mayor of London’s Connectivity and Coronavirus page for a list of other support available