Case study: Dacorum Education Support Centre

Why is closing the digital divide so important?

It provides inclusive opportunities for all, regardless of learners’ backgrounds (social, financial, behavioural, experiences etc).

How will this programme help you?

“Going digital as part of the school’s green initiatives helps us to provide more using less.

As technology becomes more and more integrated within society, it is important that all learners feel sufficiently comfortable with it to engage in activities and extract the most opportunities from what it can offer.

It encourages consistent communication, which will ensure no-one is left behind.

By providing laptops for staff, Currys has allowed our school to focus resources to provide better laptops to learners, enabling them to access online lessons, which is crucial during a pandemic, as everyone is struggling to work around staff absences. This affords our learners the same access and opportunities for education as others, not only bridging the digital divide, but also the divide between families for whom digital technology is considered a luxury they are unable to afford.”

Jackie Jone is delighted to receive the free laptops from Currys as part of Tech4Teachers scheme
Kelly Coker is delighted to receive the free laptops from Currys as part of Tech4Teachers scheme

How did lockdown impact you and your school? What challenges did you face with homeschooling?

“The main challenge of home schooling during lockdowns was the lack of appropriate equipment and internet access among our pupils and staff. The school prioritised the children and ensured that those who were in need were provided with a laptop. However, it meant that we did not have enough equality equipment to give out to staff to allow them to teach from home. As a result, many staff members still had to come to school to deliver online sessions.”

Shelly Walsh is delighted to receive the free laptops from Currys as part of Tech4Teachers scheme
Dacorum Education Support Centre is delighted to receive the free laptops from Currys as part of Tech4Teachers scheme

How did lockdown impact you and and your school? What challenges did you face with home-schooling?

“As a Pupil Referral Unit, we are a much smaller provision but have learners who have more social, emotional, or educational needs than mainstream.

As a result, lockdown impacted our learner’s timetables, their integration, their learning progress, and their motivation for education. Our learners often have additional needs such as ADHD, ADD, dyslexia or dyscalculia, so engagement in education will always be an additional challenge for them.

Many of our learners do not have appropriate technology for learning – trying to do online learning on a phone is very difficult – so this programme helps to overcome this barrier.”

What the teachers at
Dacorum Education Support Centre
say:

“Being a part-time member of staff and having my own laptop will enable me to be able to keep on top of developments even on day’s I’m not officially working. It will make keeping in touch much easier and allow me to continually co-ordinate the work of the different work experience providers, rather than writing until I can get access to a computer.” – Jackie Jones: Work experience and Vocational Co-ordinator

“I am very grateful to receive the laptop as it will make my job a lot easier. I am now mobile. When working with our students on their reintegration back into schools I can update their summaries and progress on the system immediately after their sessions. I can access resources whenever I need them, even during sessions at other schools, and can complete and catch up on work at home when needs be. I am not restricted to coming into the centre. Teams’ meetings will also be a lot easier to tune into with this laptop.” – Shelly Walsh: Outreach Caseworker

“I am so thankful for this new Laptop it will make my job so much more easier having the chance to work from home. Being in the classroom all day every day I do not worry as I know I will have the chance to catch up with the work load once I am in the comfort of my own home. I can now access teams and zoom with this laptop and join in with meetings being on my own rather than sharing a computer with a colleague. ” – Kelly Coker: Outreach Caseworker