lucylou2012 wrote:I would quite like to know why a school that purports to take a majority of its pupils from the very much less well off sector and which states that many of its pupils parents pay a very tiny contribution seems to be full of pupils with lots of hi tech and expensive gadgets? A mystery to me.
Funny, I was thinking along those very lines as I read this information which the charity E-Learning Foundation had produced, using data from the Office of National Statistics's latest Family Spending Survey:
The data shows that while 99% of children in the richest 10% of households can access the internet via a computer, this dropped to 57% in the poorest 10% of households with children.
In the poorest households 29% had no computer, 36% had no internet and 43% had no internet connection via a computer.
According to the E-Learning Foundation this translates to a total of 750,000 school age children living in households with no internet, and some 650,000 without a computer.
I think, without actually checking the current figures, that our household has probably now dipped into the poorest 10% of families with children. We do have a computer, because we weren't always in this state, and for the moment we have internet access, because it is useful for the education of our non-CH child, but it is pretty much our one non-essential expense and as such it is constantly touch and go whether this is the month we lose it. My CH child has no mp3 player or suchlike, no laptop, no iPod/iPad and manages well enough with a £10 pay-as-you-go non-smart phone (payphones seem to be disappearing from houses so I guess a mobile phone is now more or less essential, but we got through the first year and a half without one ok), and by their own account (and from what I've seen) the child is very much in the minority. Up till this point I don't think being in this minority would have mattered a jot as far as the child's education went, but I'm now worried, as CH increasingly makes a shift towards an on-line virtual-learning environment to support their curriculum, that it will be a serious drawback. As a parent too, I now find that important documents such as reports will only be available to me online in future and wonder how on earth I'll manage if we do become one of the 36% of families in that bottom bracket with no internet access.
As a side note about the 'usefulness' of computer access while our children are researching topics for school work. I have had a computer and internet access for a very long time and worked in areas involving both education and internet and I would always rather that my child had access to a decent library (last time I looked at it the CH one was considerably better stocked than our main local one) and was encouraged to use that for primary research than that it was made to feel that the quick and easy option of consulting wikipedia was the ideal. All part of a society where yoghurt for children is now produced in easy slurp plastic pouches because spoons are just so messy and difficult!! Using books for research is messy and difficult too - you end up with a table covered in papers and books open at different pages as you try to organise some sensible notes made from them - but, just like using spoons, it's a useful skill to have.
Obviously children do need to be taught to use computers and get the best out of the internet, but a school like CH has the opportunity to offer them so much more than the easy slurp version of education and it's important that it always does so.
On the positive side I do think that being able to access a list of course topics covered, vocab needed for Latin or French and suchlike while the child is home from school, rather than them having to cart back a set of textbooks and folders each time, is very useful and has interesting potential.