The £60m 2-year DCSF project has kicked off at our school. For the uninitiated this is a government funded scheme to put laptops into some of the most disadvantaged homes in the country.
Computers for Pupils
Computers for Pupils is a £60 million, two-year programme (2006–2008) aimed at helping some of the most disadvantaged secondary school children improve their education and life skills by putting a computer into the home and providing internet connectivity. It aims to narrow the achievement gap between those children and their peers. Up to 100,000 pupils in England are expected to benefit from the initiative.
108 local authorities are involved in the programme, with funding allocated through the Standards Fund Grant. Local authorities identified as having eligible schools and pupils attending in their area have been given funding to make this happen. They are also receiving help and advice covering all aspects of the scheme.
Our school has been allocated 270 laptops, which is obviously a fantastic thing. However we have nearly 900 pupils so it has also become a somewhat divisive issue. The allocation has taken into account a number of factors, including something of a post-code lottery. Explaining to one pupil why they have a laptop and another why they haven’t has been awkward today.
With the possibility of internet access also being provided in the near future this is overall great news. We have been making good headway with online homeworks in Maths, using MyMaths and Achieve, and this will dramatically cut the number of pupils who cannot complete these at home.
I haven’t seen the machines yet, as ever with technology I suspect that had they will have missed the boat with the range of excellent low cost laptops that are seeping onto the market such as the eeePC.