Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders

Exploring possibilities of home access to technology

A computer mouse

ASCL has been involved in discussions with Becta and the DCSF about the practicalities of proposals for universal home access to technology for parents. Most recently president Brian Lightman and vice president Jane Lees were interviewed by a ministerial working group as part of their consultation.

Brian and Jane stressed that home access cannot be discussed in isolation, especially in the context of online reporting to parents. ASCL has urged Becta to take an active stance in promoting a wider view of universal access, rather than pursuing the idea of putting computers in every home, which is fraught with practical problems.

ASCL has previously pointed out potential issues that make home access for all problematic, including issues with rural access where service is limited, with parents who may be refused telephone lines or internet packages because of debt or personal record, with appropriate adult supervision, and with insurance or maintenance costs when equipment is damaged or goes missing.

Some children would certainly benefit from evening, weekend and holiday-time access to a supervised, comfortable and welcoming environment outside the home in which one of the attractions would be access to technology. This would, of course, be expensive to provide. Extended schools are a possible answer, but only provided that adequate funding is available.

Becta has indicated that it will involve ASCL in further discussions on universal access.

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