Parents can now to access free extra data allowance or free 4G wireless routers to help their children access online classes during lockdown.
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Having kids at home during lockdown 1 was a new thing for all of us. We quickly had to adapt and do as best we can.
Moving into the lockdown now, you could say we’re dab hands at it – err, well, maybe not quite!
With a household full of people attempting to work from home, and kids needing access online to complete their school work, there are extra pressures on the family to have tech and decent broadband to keep up with demand.
Not all families can do this. I’ve spoken to several people who are struggling. One person has one laptop which they are meant to use for work, but they’ve given it up during the day so their child can study. They are trying to manage from their phone in the day and catching up on work in the evenings.
At first, the idea of working from home may conjure up ideas of flexible living, but some families are having to work harder than ever to keep up.
It’s also ok if you’ve got a super fast broadband connection, but so many don’t have fixed broadband. To get online, they need to use the data allowance from their phone.
That’s all well and good, but data runs out fast when you’re watching classes on YouTube or streaming live classes through Microsoft Teams/Zoom/whatever else the schools are using.
Recognising this will be an issue, and that kids will be disrupted in their education, several mobile phone providers have agreed to increase their data allowances.
How to get extra data
During the lockdown, if children and young people don’t have fixed broadband at home, and cannot afford extra data, certain providers can give extra data.
The request needs to be made by a school, trust and local authority to increase data for the following networks:
- Virgin Mobile
- Tesco Mobile
- Sky Mobile
It’s been noted that other providers may join the scheme at a later stage.
The support is available to all schools with children in years 3 to 11.
When lockdown ends, the request can still be made if children need to self-isolate and study from home.
Schools can also request for children who cannot attend school face-to-face because:
- they’re clinically extremely vulnerable
- restrictions prevent them from going to school
Once the school has requested the data on your behalf, you will get a text message to confirm you’ve got more data.
Increasing internet access
Sometimes have extra mobile data isn’t an option.
Instead, schools can request a 4G wireless routers.
Contact your school, trust or local authority to make the request.
NEW: Kid’s education on CBBC
If getting access to the internet is still a problem, or you need to change things up for the sanity of your kids (and you!) there will now be school programming on free to air TV.
From Monday 11 January 2021, the BBC is launching its biggest eduction offering ever.
For smaller kids, they have access to 3 hours of primary school education from 9 am.
Lessons will include BBC Live Lessons and BBC Bitesize Daily. There will also be other educational shows such as Our School and Celebrity Supply Teacher and titles such as Horrible Histories, Art Ninja and Operation Ouch.
Secondary school students will be able to watch BBC Two with at least 2 hours of content supporting the GCSE curriculum each weekday.
Content is created around Bitesize Daily secondary shows, complemented by Shakespeare and classic drama adaptations alongside science, history and factual titles from the BBC’s award-winning factual programming units.
The BBC is bringing its biggest ever education offer from Monday 11 January:
@CBBC will have a three-hour block of primary school programming from 9am.
— BBC Press Office (@bbcpress) January 5, 2021
BBC channels are also available on the red button and iPlayer for catch up, if needed.
Obviously, as this is on BBC and iPlayer, you will need to pay for a TV licence to access the content. I know many people have given up paying this over the last few years to save on costs, which may also cause a further issue.