Classroom connectivity should not be ‘a lottery’

Half the UK’s pupils in maintained schools are affected by slow broadband and unreliable wi-fi, denying them access to an ‘online world of knowledge’.

Wi-fi connectivity and inadequate broadband are a widespread problem in state schools:

  • 65% of primary schools and 54% of secondary schools lack wi-fi connectivity
  • Nearly 50% of primary schools and a third of secondary schools have inadequate broadband.

According to a new report from Besa, the educational suppliers association, there is a big link between poor use of ICT with slow broadband and poor wi-fi, the BBC reports.

“It is of great concern that pupils are being denied access to innovative and effective digital learning because of poor internet connectivity in more than half of the UK’s schools,” Besa’s Caroline Wright said. “In today’s digital society, classroom connectivity to an online world of knowledge and resources should be a right for every student in their place of learning and not a lottery.”

Schools that are struggling with poor internet access also report low uptake of tablet computers, risking a digital divide with schools enjoying better access and Besa is calling on the government to take speedy action to ensure that every pupil benefits from “an education that harnesses the power of educational technology”.

However, the report found that schools are rapidly increasing the number of laptops in classrooms and many are using lower-cost tablets to offer more pupils access during lessons. Technology budgets are also growing, and by the end of 2016 will be an average of £14,450 in a primary school and £64,400 in a typical secondary school.

Do you work in a school that struggles to get decent broadband coverage and if so what impact does it have on teaching and learning?

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