Charitable grant will help address digital disadvantage

Children who do not currently have access to laptops and tablets will now be able to study remotely, improve their digital literacy and use technology to support daily physical activity thanks to a donation of iPads to schools.

Children who do not currently have access to laptops and tablets will now be able to study remotely, improve their digital literacy and use technology to support daily physical activity thanks to a donation of iPads to schools.

  • In the most deprived schools, 15% of teachers report that more than a third of their students would not have adequate access to an electronic device for learning from home, compared to only 2% in the most affluent state schools
  • 12% of teachers in the most deprived schools felt that more than a third of students would not have adequate internet access

A charitable donation from entrepreneur Sir John Beckwith CBE will enable children’s charity the Youth Sport Trust to support young people in schools across the country from some of the most disadvantaged backgrounds to access online learning and creative tools designed to inspire fun and friendship through physical activity. Having access to an electronic device will mean young people can benefit from activities and guidance that will keep them moving, boost their wellbeing and ensure they have access to education, even when not in the classroom.

The donation of £100,000 is expected to initially help 300 children, but the charity and Sir John Beckwith are encouraging other organisations to support this cause and help raise £1 million which would extend the reach to up to a quarter of a million children.

The Youth Sport Trust have partnered up with Apple and Apple’s Authorised Education Specialist partner, XMA, who have agreed to source the tech hardware for schools and will also provide individual technical support and mentoring from their network of Apple Professional Learning Specialists. 

Sir John Beckwith, president and founder of the Youth Sport Trust, said:

This pandemic has brought to the fore just how many children miss out because they do not have access to technology at home. It was an issue I felt strongly about before the pandemic struck but now with home schooling and remote learning due to continue for some time there are too many children missing out. 

I also hope this donation can highlight how technology can play a part in active lifestyles and encourage active learning at a time when we know less than 50% of children access the recommended 60 active minutes a day and the least active, are again, the most disadvantaged.

The Youth Sport Trust will now work with its network of 20,000 schools across the UK and insight from Government departments to identify which young people are most in need of the donation. The charity has a focus on harnessing the power of sport, physical activity and PE to increase young people’s life chances through improved wellbeing, healthier lifestyles and greater attainment.

Ali Oliver, Chief Executive of Youth Sport Trust, said:

We know from The Sutton Trust research that digital deprivation is a real issue in our schools. As a charity we have responded, like many others, to the Coronavirus crisis by making many of our resources and support available online for schools, families and young people. It is not acceptable that some children are missing out just because they don’t have access to a laptop, tablet or computer at home.

We are hugely grateful to Sir John for this donation and we know how much it is going to make a difference to children’s lives and learning in the current climate and beyond.

Ian Cunningham, Director at XMA, said:

XMA were thrilled to be presented with the opportunity to work with Youth Sport Trust. Equipping young people with the equal opportunity to access learning, regardless of their circumstance, is at the heart of what we have continued to do for many years alongside our key educational partners including Apple, Microsoft and Google. 

Our purpose has always been to empower learners through the efficient use of technology, and together with Youth Sport Trust this continues to become a reality. As an Apple Authorised Education Specialist, our in-house team of qualified educators will support and mentor teachers and learners in adopting this technology, both for use in the classroom and at home.

For more information about supporting this campaign visit the Just Giving link at https://bit.ly/YSTDigiDeprivation.

The Youth Sport Trust is also gearing up to this summer’s National School Sport Week at Home in June to ensure no child misses out on a school sports day, find out more youthsporttrust.org/national-school-sport-week-home.