With Knowsley currently having one of the highest Covid-19 infection rates in the country, peaking at over 1,400 cases per 100,000 just last week, many parents and carers are managing home schooling, often with limited or no equipment. This picture is reflected across the country with the Prime Minister announcing a national lockdown at 8pm on 4 January – on the same day that many schools across the country had opened their doors for the start of a new term.
Whilst the Government pledged to provide devices to children who need them, local schools haven’t been provided with enough equipment, leaving many children unable to access online home learning opportunities.
To address this shortfall, Livv Housing Group and Knowsley Council have teamed up to support families with home schooling during such a challenging time. This means that essential learning can continue at home safely. Based on information provided by schools, funding has been provided to families for 204 laptops/devices across the Borough.
Councillor Margaret Harvey, Knowsley Council’s Children’s Services Cabinet Member, said:
“I understand the pressure and challenges home schooling presents for our families, particularly if you don’t have equipment at home to access some of the online support that is available.
Through our strong partnership working with Livv Housing, we’ve been able to step in where the Government has left us with a shortfall and we have provided local families with the equipment they need to ensure that learning can continue at home.
Schools and families across the Borough have worked incredibly hard throughout this pandemic. Schools have ensured that educational and engaging work is being set for children across the Borough, whilst also providing support to families at home. Local families are ensuring that children are only attending school if it is absolutely essential and ensuring that home learning is continuing at home.
This really is a great example of Knowsley Better Together in practice with partners working together for the benefit of our residents.”
Amanda Newton – Executive Director, Customer Insight at Livv Housing Group said:
“In Knowsley, where the rates are high we’re trying to encourage as few children to attend school as possible. One big issue is that there are still many schools where not every child has access to a digital device and parents can’t necessarily go out and buy a new laptop or may even need more than one because they have more than one child with overlapping timetables.
“We approached Knowsley Council to see if we could help. One of the key outcomes that we’re trying to achieve with our investment is to boost skills and children’s educational attainment in the local area, because it is already an issue in Knowsley and we don’t want children here to fall further behind because of Covid.
“From a wellbeing point of view, it’s also hugely important that children can have face to face interaction with teachers and with their friends through video calls and online lessons. Children who can’t get online are missing out on these through no fault of their own.
“We’ve supplied £15,000 to provide approximately 150 devices to schools in Knowsley where they may have fallen short on the devices they need. They can then distribute them to families who need them to get online for home schooling for the remainder of this current lockdown.”