14 May 2020

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An estimated 700,000 UK children aged 11-18 don’t have access to a laptop, computer or tablet. This means they can’t fully take part in home learning during the lockdown.

Children North East has stepped in to help, with support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

13-year-old Connor, from Houghton-le-Spring, was one of the hundreds of thousands of children struggling to complete schoolwork at home due to a lack of technology. He was trying to complete his work on his mum’s smart phone which was incredibly challenging for him.

But he’s received a brand-new iPad from Children North East, thanks to funding raised by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

Children North East family support worker, Vicki Price, identified that Connor needed some tech support. She’s been supporting the family. Connor has distraction disorder and was temporarily excluded from school four weeks prior to lockdown.

Vicki said: "I could see how difficult it was for Connor’s mum to try and persuade him to engage in school work with just her mobile phone – it would be difficult for any young person, but for someone who is easily distracted, it was proving a nightmare."
Adele, Connor’s mum, added: "Connor can only concentrate on something for so long, so trying to do reading on the phone just wasn’t working. It was so frustrating when school was moving everyone online as there are families who can’t afford computers and laptops.
"Obviously, you can’t see a whole sentence on the phone, and he would fling it to one side, and we’d have tantrums. We’re really grateful to players of People’s Postcode Lottery and to Children North East. Since getting the iPad, he’s over the moon and we’ve heard from school how pleased they are with his progress. He’s now logging in daily to complete at least one 45-minute task a day which has tripled his score on Power Up since he started the school in January."

Luke Bramhall, the charity’s school research and delivery service manager, said schools were being encouraged by the government to provide IT equipment but only to certain students.

He said: "If we’re to support those children who are living with the most disadvantage, in order not to let their education fall behind, we must ensure access is provided quickly to resources and equipment whilst schools are closed."

Players of People’s Postcode Lottery have raised more than £2.4 million for Children North East. Every day there are children struggling to feel safe, confident and happy. Children North East provides expert and dedicated support to help change their lives.