The Ted Wragg Trust has been working with organisations and individuals across Exeter to support hundreds of disadvantaged children.
Recent research conducted by the city council’s Exeter Education Recovery Group revealed that five per cent of children in Exeter’s primary schools don’t have access to broadband and 12 per cent don’t have access to a suitable device for learning. Of those that do have a suitable device, often this is shared with other children, making access to learning limited.
Following this, a campaign was established to raise £30,000 to ensure primary school children can access the technology they need to learn effectively and not fall behind in their education when needing to self-isolate or when required to access online learning from home
Teacher Ben Prosser, year 5 and 6 team leader, English lead and data and assessment coordinator at Exwick Heights Primary School, said the lack of technology for some pupils has already had a huge impact on their learning.
He said: ‘I can really see that the attainment gap has drastically widened for our disadvantaged pupils. It’s desperately unfair as those children already face adverse difficulties and now their future has been impacted and put in jeopardy from missing such a large chunk of their education. Although those who had no access to digital devices were given paper learning items such as workbooks, they missed out on online tutorials, feedback and day-to-day, two way communications.
‘For those pupils who did request a school device at the beginning of the first lockdown, you can see that they have not been affected as much, as they had access to online learning. For me personally this is not going to be a quick fix, but if we can provide the remaining pupils with devices it will go a long way to reducing the gap, ensuring a better future for them and our community and city.’
As part of this campaign the new library of devices will be managed by the Ted Wragg Trust, although they will be available to all schools across the city and Cranbrook Educational Campus.
Moira Marder, chief executive of the Ted Wragg Trust, said: ‘This campaign is about levelling the playing field for all children in schools across Exeter. We know that failure to engage with these vulnerable pupils will inevitably widen the educational gap with better-off peers.
‘The values of the Ted Wragg Trust are to ensure equal access to education for all and through this appeal we aim to uphold those values. The impact of the pandemic will not be felt equally by all children, those that cannot access remote learning will be negatively impacted, and irreversibly so.
The appeal has already garnered support with substantial donations from many local businesses. This fantastic display of generosity means that all primary school across Exeter will be able to access a library of devices which will be loaned to children who are learning from home for which the Trust is very grateful.
To donate to the campaign visit https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/ipadsforchildreninexeter