Schools.connected programme gives children SIM with 30GB data allowance and is valid for 90 days
Vodafone UK has announced it is giving free connectivity to 250,000 children across the UK to help them access school work from home and continue with their education if they are required to isolate.
This will arrive in the form of data SIMs and is available to primary and secondary school children in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.
Schools can order the data SIMs to give to pupils who find it difficult to access education from home because they don’t have the right connectivity. Each SIM has a 30GB data allowance and is valid for 90 days. To order, customers can visit www.vodafone.co.uk/schoolsconnected
The launch of this emergency package follows consultation with headteachers and education trusts who report that many children are struggling to access education from home.
Almost 2000 SIMs have already been requested by the Nottingham Schools Trust for children in 34 schools across the region.
The National Foundation for Educational Research estimates that children in England are at least three months behind in their studies due to COVID-19 restrictions, with disadvantaged pupils being among the worst hit.
It also reports that teachers in the most deprived schools were more than three times as likely to say their pupils were at least four months behind, compared with those in wealthier schools.
Vodafone UK CEO Nick Jeffery said: “Our focus throughout this crisis has been keeping the UK connected.
“We know many hundreds of thousands of children in the UK can’t access education from home because they don’t have the right connectivity – this means children already at a disadvantage could fall further behind.
“We want to help and so have created this emergency support package for 250,000 children and young people. We encourage schools to apply to the Vodafone schools.connected programme as soon as possible. Together, we can ensure no child is left behind.”
Nottingham Schools Trust chief executive Sarah Fielding said: “While we’ve had some support from the Government for laptops and tablets, securing the necessary connectivity is a huge challenge. We are delighted with the Vodafone schools.connected support and believe this free connectivity will have a hugely positive impact on the learning and future outcomes of some of our most in-need pupils.”