Homeschooling without a computer is not only causing kids to fall behind with their lessons, it’s leading stress levels to rise amongst families too.
Neither of NHS keyworker Donna Hutchins’s sons had laptops during the first lockdown. It meant her older son Kai, 15, didn’t have access to the GCSE work his peers were doing and, as a result, has dropped one of his GCSEs.
And her younger son Keyan, 11, was very aware that the worksheets he was doing were different to what his friends were doing at school, which is making him feel anxious.
This is why we’ve teamed up with Birmingham’s Digital Education Partnership to launch our Laptops4Kids campaign in a bid to get computers to children who desperately need them. Please help by donating money here or donating an old laptop here
“We were sent odd worksheets home but hardly anything really,” said Donna, from Maypole, “it was very different to what was going on online.
“My eldest son was working towards his GCSEs and he couldn’t do anything because all the lessons were online. I asked for help and was told he had books to work from. I asked if he could go and use the computers after school and was told he couldn’t. They said there was funding for disadvantaged kids but we weren’t able to get a laptop.
“He was worried about his exams but now they’ve been cancelled, that’s lifted a bit of weight off him. Now he’s constantly trying to catch up because he knows they will be going from the grades of his work instead of his exams.”
With schools closed due to Covid-19, thousands of children in Birmingham are in need of laptops to continue their learning.
They are falling behind in their studies through no fault of their own – because they are unable to access lessons being put on by schools.
BirminghamLive is supporting efforts, through the Digital Education Partnership, to raise funds and laptop donations to support pupils and get them learning again.
You can help
Some 5,000 children are struggling with homeschooling during lockdown because they don’t have computers at home, according to Birmingham’s Digital Education Partnership.
Kai had an iPad for Christmas and his mum says he has been working constantly on it since to try to catch up and narrow the gap in his learning.
She said: “His teacher has said he can drop computer science because he wasn’t able to do it at home without a computer. So he’s only doing eight GCSEs now instead of nine.
“My younger son was really nervous about going back to school when it reopened because he knew how much his friends had done and he felt a bit behind. He’s worried because he’ll be starting secondary school in September.
“This time, I’ve bought SATS books from Amazon and so my youngest son isn’t doing the work set by school, he’s working through them instead. The school keep sending videos of a book they’re reading but how can he watch without a computer? He sometimes uses my phone but I work so he can’t use it very much.
“It’s got to the point where I can’t stress too much about it anymore.”
Donna works for the NHS as a support worker for children with learning disabilities, a job she is unable to do from home. It means Keyan goes into school twice a week.
“The school has asked if they could reduce the amount of time he’s in school but I’ve said he’s got to go in because I’m out at work and it’s the only chance he has to get on with his school work,” she added.
We’ve got together with the Birmingham branch of the Digital Education Partnership (BEP) to enable you to help children like Keyan by simply donating money or an old laptop to those who need them.
In the run-up to Christmas, BEP issued 350 re-purposed laptops to schools across the city.
They now have around 450 more coming in for re-purposing, 120 of which are already in the system and will hopefully be sent out of schools soon.
But they need many more to try to help the thousands of youngsters struggling to keep up with their peers.