Digital divide: Pupils forced on to buses to get online

Some children have also sat 'in the car parks of public libraries' in an effort to access broadband, committee is told

Amy Gibbons

Digital divide: Pupils without internet access have been forced to go on buses to get wi-fi to carry out online learning, a parliamentary committee has been told

Some pupils have been forced to sit on buses and in the car parks of public libraries in order to access the internet during the Covid crisis, MPs and peers have been told.

In a meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Literacy this afternoon, Jonathan Douglas, chief executive of the National Literacy Trust, said he had heard reports of children "sitting on the top of a bus with a laptop" in an effort to find a broadband connection.

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"I've just come from a meeting with Alison Peacock [Dame Alison Peacock, chief executive of the Chartered College of Teaching] and the Chartered College about digital access and she was talking about kids on buses because they could access...sitting on the top of a bus with a laptop because they could access broadband on [buses]," Mr Douglas said.

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"And also children sitting in the car parks of public libraries because they could access broadband networks in the car [park]."

The Chartered College of Teaching confirmed to Tes that Dame Alison had discussed these reports with Mr Douglas, and added that she had also been told of families who were forced to share one mobile phone between them.

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Amy Gibbons

Amy Gibbons

Amy Gibbons is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @tweetsbyames

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