THE CHILDREN of working class families are being denied an education during the coronavirus lockdown as many families do not have access to laptops, computers and the internet. This is while the children of the rich enjoy on-line private tuition, a new report by the Sutton Trust revealed yesterday.
Private school pupils are twice as likely to receive online lessons than those at state schools, the research shows.
A survey of 6,500 teachers found that over half of students in privately run primaries (51 per cent) and secondaries (57 per cent) are taking part in online lessons every day during the lockdown – two and half times as often as their state school contemporaries (19 per cent and 22 per cent for primaries and secondaries respectively).
Peter Lampl, founder and chairman of the Sutton Trust, said: ‘Pupils from poorer homes face a double disadvantage. They have insufficient resources at home to support their learning and they are less likely to be able to access online classes.
‘The widening of the attainment gap over these next few months threatens to have negative implications for years to come.’
Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said yesterday: ‘The concern about a digital divide, about many children not having laptops at home, not having a broadband connection, even in some cases where parents are working from home, there is a laptop but the parents are using it for work.
‘So there are all sorts of those discriminatory effects which come from this, and we are really going to have to look about how we deal with those and that means catch up of some sort when we get back to school.
‘It also means looking at the exams next summer, because one of the things the exams do is they just rank all of the kids and they just share all the results out and that could turn out to be a very discriminatory way of running the exams next summer.’
Meanwhile over the weekend, it was suggested by the Tories that they were looking at re-opening schools.
On this Courtney said: ‘Even if children don’t get serious cases of coronavirus themselves, in the main most of them don’t, there is some evidence that they are spreaders of the disease.
‘It could be spread at home to vulnerable parents, there are vulnerable teachers as well.
‘We were asking if that modelling was based on the idea of social distancing, we think it just not possible for children to socially distance where class sizes are quite a lot higher than in other European countries.
‘Children are sharing a lot of things in school, books and pens and pencils, it is almost impossible to think of social distancing.’
Junior doctors in their contract struggle emphasised the NHS was close to breaking point and they were not going to allow that to happen.