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million childrn lack access to a computer

(64 Posts)
sarah293 Tue 28-Dec-10 10:23:37

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Carrotsandcelery Tue 28-Dec-10 10:35:19

We have had about 2 weeks of school closures due to snow. The school sent out work for the pupils online - it is a special website the school subscribes to that stores the child's performance for the teacher to look at once they are back at school.
The school did send out a letter about it and made it clear that parents could approach the school if web access was not available. I don't know if this help came in the form of borrowed laptops or worksheets instead.
I did realise at that point how big a problem it would be for children, even at primary age, not to have access to a computer.
We actually had a problem as my 2 dcs had to take turns doing their schoolwork online as there is only one laptop in the house.
I can see that we will have to save once they are both in Secondary education so that they can both have access to a laptop at the same time.
Laptops and broadband are expensive though. We are not hard up but do have to consider the cost of these things. It would be a real issue for a family with a tighter budget.
Hopefully school libraries and computing labs can at least be made available to pupils out of normal school hours. Otherwise the govt will have to issue a benefit for pupils of a certain age which provides them with a laptop loan of some sort and free broadband.

sarah293 Tue 28-Dec-10 10:40:23

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cornsilkcornedbeefhash Tue 28-Dec-10 10:42:49

I read that there were lots of computers not claimed when the government ran the free computer scheme

SlartyBartFast Tue 28-Dec-10 10:43:44

they stopped that scheme.
our computer broke and i did make tentative enquiries at secondary school.
was very hard to be computerless.

cornsilkcornedbeefhash Tue 28-Dec-10 10:46:52

really when was that - how crap. There was definitely something about it in something I read in the last term from our LEA.

OrangeCountyStrip Tue 28-Dec-10 10:48:39

Wasn't there a thing where you could apply for a free computer for a child between certain ages?

OrangeCountyStrip Tue 28-Dec-10 10:49:23

Oh sorry completely skimmed over that! Already been said.

Megletitsnow Tue 28-Dec-10 10:50:40

We were visiting a primary school the other week and one of the girls we spoke to said she didn't like homework as their computer didn't work very well and it took her a long time to do it sad.

I had no idea primary school kids needed computers at home.

Carrotsandcelery Tue 28-Dec-10 10:51:13

Riven that must lead to a bit of friction as they all prepare. I imagine a good "timetable" is required to allow them the necessary access.

cornsilkcornedbeefhash Tue 28-Dec-10 10:53:57

ah yes Slarty you're right - just googled homeaccess grant - apparently it was a 'runaway success' but is now closed. Figures

SlartyBartFast Tue 28-Dec-10 11:02:26

i think it was the chagne in government that pulled the plug

cornsilkcornedbeefhash Tue 28-Dec-10 11:05:34

I'll bet it was

sarah293 Tue 28-Dec-10 11:07:02

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sarah293 Tue 28-Dec-10 11:08:30

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Heroine Tue 28-Dec-10 11:20:38

have you heard of these people they take in old PCs and Macs from companies and individuals, strip them down (remove all the old programs), wipe the hard drive, refurbish them, put a new stripped down operating system on, and sell them from £37.00 for a full system (including an old style CRT monitor).

tallulah Tue 28-Dec-10 11:23:44

Not really news. We went online originally because school expected so much to be done on a computer, and that was back in the late 1990s. We couldn't afford it at the time and really begrudged it. We started up with a cheap dial-up service, which really wasn't cheap at the time, compared to how much it costs now.

I've just done a quick search on and you can get broadband for £4.99 a month. OK it won't have all the bells and whistles but you cut your cloth according to your means.

ghostgirl Tue 28-Dec-10 11:25:01

What I dont understand is why schools set homework that requires web access/word processing?

I understand that primary and secondary students need the learn how to use computers but I think the focus should be KS2 upwards and all homework should handwritten. Maybe they need a higher quota of computer lessons so that students are able to carry out indepth research projects to practice their internet and work processing skills at school.

Demanding that all homweork assignemnts are handwritten would also provide good opportunities for students to practice for hand written examinations.

sarah293 Tue 28-Dec-10 11:55:21

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Niceguy2 Tue 28-Dec-10 12:08:11

>>>i think it was the chagne in government that pulled the plug<<<

Sort of. The original scheme had a limited funds & life. They ran out and the new govt killed the quango. Thankfully!

Hard to justify giving laptops to the poor when we have such a huge budget deficit and money can be better spent elsewhere.

The scheme was appalling anyway. The laptops were not worth anywhere near the money the govt was paying for them and again sent out completely the wrong signals to the working population. ie. claim benefits & get a new laptop! Work and don't!

There are plenty of computers available at school and libraries. Yes it will be a pain for the child to have to organise themselves but giving them computers is simply not affordable.

Let's say £500 per laptop. 1m kids, that's £500m we've got to find somewhere. On top of that, broadband access. Let's say that's £15 a month. That's £360m per year we've got to find.

And that's assuming we don't need to hand anymore out the next year or what happens if they break it or their parents flog it on ebay for ciggies.

Many many parents on income support etc manage very well with their money and can afford their own PC/laptop. Other's cannot. So logic dictates that some are better than others at managing their money. So for those who are bad at it, we give laptops? Doesn't sound like a great idea to me.

cornsilkcornedbeefhash Tue 28-Dec-10 12:30:38

niceguy2 - the scheme also catered for children with SEN/SN - it wasn't just about giving laptops 'to the poor' hmm

goingforit Tue 28-Dec-10 12:34:57

Well not all children with SEN/SN come from poor backgrounds, do they?

As has been stated this country would be even more bankcrupt if free laptops continued to be given out - also agree with it sending out the wrong message to the working poor. Work and you get no help.

It amazes me. You can get a decent laptop for under £400. I see families getting into debt for holidays, cars, yet seem to think that £400 for something educational is beyond them. What price education. I really don't think there are many families in this country that couldn't afford a laptop plus internet access. They just choose to spend their money on different priorities. We can all cut back on things, and save.

cornsilkcornedbeefhash Tue 28-Dec-10 12:37:27

goingforit no they don't - but often parents have no choice but to to give up work to care for them.

SlartyBartFast Tue 28-Dec-10 12:42:06

i havent got £400 laying around.
i need a car. tis a higher priority.
i have a desk top computer. dc's desperately want a lap top.
will not budge on that.

they can use library but time on the library is limited. although printing is free for homework.

sarah293 Tue 28-Dec-10 12:45:07

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