Students living in digital poverty supported with WiFi connection and SIM cards

Over 120 students living in digital poverty will be supported with WiFi and SIM cards.

Staying connected

This is in part thanks to the charity Jangala. They have supplied 120 Get Boxes to The Access Project. Get Boxes are innovative, low-cost WiFi devices. We are distributing them to students located across the country who are in need of help with internet access.

This includes students like Shirley, a Year 11 student at one of our London schools. Shirley attends her Physics and Maths tutorials online. But her WiFi connection at home used to be a problem: “As my connection to the internet used to be weak, I often arrived late to my tutorials or had to end some early. I also couldn’t hand in homework at times because I couldn’t access it.”

But with the GetBox from Jangala, Shirley has that much needed steady internet connection at home: “Since I received WiFi support from The Access Project, I’ve been able to keep on top of revision, homework and my tutorials. My grades have improved massively.”

Naima is a Year 13 student at one of our London schools, and gets tutored in Biology and Chemistry. For Naima too, a slow internet connection at home meant that she was unable to attend her tutorials, which was affecting her grades. Receiving the GetBox from Jangala has made things a lot easier: “The WiFi box may not sound like much, but I know that it will help many young people out there who have the ability and the potential to succeed, but have issues with their internet at home.”

In addition, we have been supplied with over 200 Vodafone SIM cards as part of Vodafone’s Charities Connected scheme. This will boost our students’ ability to stay connected to their learning from home.

Learning during the pandemic

The move to online learning over the pandemic has exacerbated existing educational inequalities. During the first school closure period between March and July 2020, government data estimates that there was a gap of 1.2 hours per day of study time between the richest and poorest secondary school students. This is a 33% increase from 0.9 hours before the pandemic.

We know that as a result of this lost learning, our tutorials are increasingly important. Tuition now plays an even greater role than usual in supporting students from disadvantaged backgrounds to meet their full potential, “gap filling” lost hours of teaching and learning.

Online tutoring

In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic we switched to online tutoring for all of our students. Our young people continue to do their tutorials online.

Nathan Sansom, Chief Executive, said: “Having a stable internet connection at home is an essential means of accessing education – especially during a pandemic. That’s why we are so excited to be able to offer hundreds of our students Get Boxes and SIM cards so that they can continue to access their tutorials online.”

Anna Hickman from Jangala said: “Whether or not a child has internet shouldn’t impact their access to education opportunities. Unfortunately, as more services move online, the access gap is widening between those who do and don’t have WiFi. Jangala is proud to be working with The Access Project to ensure that all of their students can access their life-changing tutor programme online.”