Broadband for Suffolk pupils
Thousands of families in Suffolk are to be given government grants so that their children can have broadband internet access at home.The county was chosen to take part in a year-long trial, which will see about 11,000 low income families being given money to buy computers and sign up for broadband to help with their children's school work.
Thousands of families in Suffolk are to be given government grants so that their children can have broadband internet access at home.
The county was chosen to take part in a year-long trial, which will see about 11,000 low income families being given money to buy computers and sign up for broadband to help with their children's school work.
The pilot scheme, which will also take place in Oldham, follows on from the prime minister's announcement last month that £300m will be spent to ensure that every seven to 18-year-old has access to a home computer and broadband for their school work, as about a million children nationwide still do not have internet access at home.
As well as offering funding for poorer families, the scheme - which starts in February - will target parents who have broadband access but do not use it for their children's benefit and those who can afford internet access but do not think it has educational benefits.
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All schoolchildren in Suffolk will also have access to special cut-price packages from broadband and computer suppliers and high-profile marketing campaigns will show parents the benefits of using computers and the internet.
Patricia O'Brien, Suffolk County Council's portfolio holder for children, schools and young people's services, said: “I am delighted Suffolk has been selected to take part in this innovative and exciting pilot.
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“The project will help to bridge the digital divide for children in Suffolk who do not have a computer at home or access to the internet. The use of technology in education is developing fast and this is a unique opportunity for Suffolk to be at the forefront.”
Schools minister Jim Knight launched the pilot project in London this week and said that children in low income families should not be disadvantaged.
He said: “There has to be a culture where families see home access is as important as making sure their children have a pen, paper and calculator at school.
“Schools are revolutionising how they educate faster than many families realise. There is no substitute for good classroom teaching but day-to-day school work is increasingly web and computer based, and it is clear that students get better results where technology is used effectively at home to study, research and communicate.”
Waveney MP Bob Blizzard said: “This is absolutely fantastic news for children and families. In this day and age, having home access to the internet or a computer is no longer an optional extra for school work - it is fast becoming essential.”
The programme, which is run by Becta, the government agency in charge of IT for learners, will be extended across the country in November next year.