BT is partnering with the UK government’s Department for Education (DfE) to help the most in-need children in England with their online learning.
BT will provide in-need families with six months’ free access to the UK’s largest wi-fi network, which included 5.5m wi-fi hotspots around the country. Access will be provided via a BT WiFi voucher-code system, and will allow children to access the web on up to three devices at a time, for six months.
The voucher will allow access with comprehensive content filtering and will point to online resources from BT’s own Skills for Tomorrow and Barefoot learning programmes, as well as BBC Bitesize and others.
The scheme launches today and will be offered to those who are most in need. It follows the DfE’s initiative, announced in April, which aims to help England’s most in-need children access vital online learning resources.
“Supporting children’s education in these difficult times is a major priority for BT,” said Marc Allera, CEO of BT’s Consumer division. “Through our Skills for Tomorrow programme, we already have a whole raft of fun and engaging online resources to help children learn at home. Offering up our wi-fi hotspots estate will ensure that thousands more children will ultimately be able to keep up with their important digital learning and online schoolwork for the rest of term and over the summer holidays as well as into the autumn.”
Nick Gibb, School Standards Minister, added: “The Government will do everything possible to make sure no child, whatever their background, falls behind as a result of coronavirus. We have committed over £100m to support pupils with remote education, including to provide laptops, tablets and 4G wireless routers to disadvantaged children and young people, and this initiative will build on that work. High quality internet access will continue to play an important role for children and families as we work towards pupils returning to schools in September, and I am hugely grateful to BT for their support in delivering this scheme.”
BT is funding the scheme to provide in-need families with six months’ access to BT’s wi-fi estate, while distribution is being handled directly by the DfE, which will issue families with the necessary voucher usernames and passwords.
Local Authorities and Academy Trusts will be invited to request vouchers, working with their schools to identify those children who are most in need. For more information about the project, contact: COVID.TECHNOLOGY@education.gov.uk