Pupils without WiFi given a digital helping hand in Wolverhampton

AN ARTICLE FROM BIRMINGHAM MAIL

Children who do not have digital devices or internet access at home in order to take part in online learning outside of school, have been given a helping hand by a Wolverhampton councillor.

Cllr Beverley Momenabadi (Lab. Ettingshall), along with fellow councillors from Bushbury North, East Park, Ettingshall, Fallings Park, Graiseley and Oxley, all donated ward funds to buy MiFi (mobile broadband routers) and 4G sim cards so children can get online if they need to isolate during the pandemic.

During lockdown, a number of schools across the city reported that pupils lacked suitable devices or had restricted access due to sharing equipment with other family members.

Bilston C of E Primary School pupils Summer Timmins and Jayden Lauder receive some digital support from Cllr Beverley Momenabadi, right, teacher and IT coordinator Donna Robinson, left, and Head Teacher Gary Gentle, centre.

Cllr Momenabadi, who recently won England’s ‘Young Councillor of the Year’ award, said: “Wolverhampton Council is committed to digital inclusion. It is fundamental, not a ‘nice to have’ – that is why we have ensured that digital is an integral part of our ‘Relighting Our City’ recovery commitment.

“The Government’s response to getting children online to ensure they don’t miss out on any more of their education has been ill thought-through. They have not taken into account those families who don’t have WiFi or an internet connection at home.

Cllr Momenabadi, who is the council’s Digital Innovation Champion, recently visited St Peter’s C of E School in Bilston to promote the council’s involvement in a Department for Education (DfE) device lending scheme, which supports schools who have exhausted their stock.

“Digital skills are crucial for education, economic resilience and growth, providing a gateway to jobs, progression and social inclusion,” she added.

“It is crucial all pupils have access to devices and connectivity to get online and further their education to improve their life chances. We fully recognise how critical and life changing connectivity can be to every child in Wolverhampton.”

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