Closing the education disadvantage gap
Our research has found that long-term disadvantage (specifically for those from White and Black Caribbean ethnic groups) was a growing problem in English schools, even before the pandemic.
The number of schools with a high proportion of long-term disadvantaged high impact students increased from 463 at the end of the 2017/18 academic year to 537 at the end of 2018/19, an increase of 16%.
Since then, it is clear that the existing education disadvantage gap has worsened, with children in the North disproportionately affected by both school closures and the digital divide.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we launched two campaigns to help children learn from home while schools were closed. Laptops for Kids worked with IT companies to refurbish old, unused devices, while Cash for Connectivity collaborated with businesses and newspapers across the North to raise money for internet data.
In total, almost £45,000 and over 4,000 devices were donated to ensure that children across the North – regardless of their background – were able to access remote lessons. While children may now be back at school, the digital divide continues to impact thousands of families, locking many out of further opportunities to learn.
It is now vital that Pupil Premium funding is reallocated to target the most disadvantaged children, who have borne the brunt of the effect of lockdown over the past year.
Working with businesses and organisations accross the North