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Millions of children across the UK are currently out of school for an extended period due to lockdown. Digital classrooms have been set up at dinner tables that have been turned into makeshift classrooms, with many parents gaining experience as first-time teachers. This arrangement is far from ideal in most households, with families finding it difficult to manage their children’s educational workloads. The problem is exasperated further in homes where adequate technology does not exist. England alone is home to over 1 million children economically deprived children, with many unable to study from home because they lack suitable access to digital devices or the internet, a key finding raised in a recent survey by educational charity Teach First. By the end of the UK’s first week in lockdown, teachers said that 10% of pupils did not own a device or had no internet service. With uncertainty about when schools will re-open, pupils categorised as disadvantaged are set to continue to fall behind their better-off peers. Teach First is calling on tech companies and Internet providers to expand their networks to provide more broadband and Wi-Fi hotspots around areas of need. Chief Executive of Teach First, Russell Hobby explained, “All teachers and parents are working hard, but they need wider society’s help to make sure the most vulnerable children don’t get left behind.”

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Email: victoria@kidsandyouth.com

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