Online schooling: The digital divide between families in lockdown

Most children in the region are still studying at home. Credit: PA Images

While some children have gone back to school this week, most are still at home and studying online - which one academy in Birmingham says has been a great success.

However, there have been big variations in the amount and quality of online work being set by schools during lockdown.

This has lead to concerns whether some disadvantaged pupils are able to access lessons on the internet at all.

Experts say there is also a growing "digital divide" between low income and better off families.

Some families may not be able to afford the internet and as the majority of home schooling work is set out online some disadvantaged pupils are falling behind in their studies through no fault of their own.

Experts worry that the use of online platforms could be detrimental to the learning of children from low income families. Credit: PA images

Arena Academy is part of the CORE Education Trust - an academy chain with 3 and a half thousand pupils.

It claims its decision to move all teaching online has been a huge success, with three-quarters of students logging on every day - compared to the national figure of around a third.

Education correspondent Peter Bearne spoke to Sofia Darr, Headteacher of CORE Education Trust who tells us what a typical day is like for students learning from home.

Year 10 student Harriet Joyce also tells us about her experience.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “We know that being in school is vital for children’s education and their wellbeing, which is why we are pleased to see so many children begin to return to school this week.

“This innovative online tuition pilot is an important part of plans to put support in place to ensure young people don’t fall behind as a result of coronavirus, particularly those facing other disadvantages.”

Watch Peter Bearne's report in full below:

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