BT to help disadvantaged children with home schooling, offering six months free internet access.
BT has been working on with Department of Education (DfE), bringing BT Wi-fi access to children and families with no internet access at home via our c5.4 million Wi-fi hotspots to help with online learning.
Around 150,000 families in the UK have no access to the internet, meaning that many children have been at risk of falling behind during school closures. As just one part of the BT Group’s wide-ranging response to the pandemic, we’ve stepped in to fund the development and access costs for this scheme that, we hope, will provide tens of thousands of children with connectivity.
The ambitious plan follows the DfE’s initiative announced in April, which aims to help England’s most in-need children access vital online learning resources. Over the coming months, supporting hardest hit families is more important than ever.
This will be an option of “first resort” for those who are most in need. The Wi-fi access vouchers BT will give users unlimited data, on up to three devices at a time for 6 months. The vouchers will allow access with comprehensive content filtering to ensure child safety, and will point to online resources from BT’s own Skills for Tomorrow and Barefoot learning programmes as well as BBC Bitesize and others.
Distribution is being handled directly by the DfE, which will issue families with the necessary voucher usernames and passwords. Local Education Authorities and Academy Trusts in England will be invited to request vouchers, working with their schools to identify those children who are most in need – LEAs and Academy Trust wanting to know more should contact COVID.TECHNOLOGY@education.gov.uk . BT are also working to make a similar offer available to the devolved administrations.
BT hope this bespoke internet access will help as many as a third or more of those families without fixed connectivity at home who the Government is supporting through this period of school closure and part time attendance.
BT feel the value of this product is significant, especially in the impact we hope it will have. Digital Skills is a key priority for BT so we feel it is right to leverage our connectivity to help the most in-need children around the country.