Home Access programme grows

The government has appointed four additional approved suppliers for the Home Access programme. They are:

DA Computers
NS Optimum
Stone Computers

Launched in January 2010, the Home Access programme is managed by Becta. Home Access aims to ensure that more children in state-maintained education in England have access to technology at home to support learning.

Stephen Crowne, Becta chief executive said: "Gaining access to a computer and the internet at home will be a huge step forward for many children and families across England. By working with suppliers to provide quality services, we are confident that we can deliver a programme that meets the needs of learners today."

Evidence shows effective use of technology boosts a child's achievement and the Home Access programme strives to make England one of the first countries in the world to ensure every young person has access to a computer and internet at home.

NS Optimum said that it was “delighted to be listed as a provisional Approved Supplier to the Home Access programme as it further reinforces the part they play in addressing inequalities in access to computers and the internet, and helping all people to realise their full potential”.

This announcement came as the programme celebrates a year in operation.

Findings from the pilot showed that the 4,000 families in Oldham that received computers through the Home Access programme spent an hour more each week for learning online, compared to their classmates who already had the internet at home. Four out of five parents also believed that home access had increased their involvement in their child's learning - and increased parental engagement is proven to improve children's educational attainment.

Rebecca Cook, a single mum who lives in Failsworth with her 11 year old son Evan, wasn't able to afford a computer and had to go to her local library to get online. She found out about the Home Access scheme through a friend and today, both mother and son are developing their maths skills together. "We've really benefited from having access to the internet at home. As well as working on school projects together with Evan, the Home Access package has allowed me to pursue my own learning, develop IT skills and access services online. We couldn't think about life without it now,” Rebecca said.

Nye Goodwin, headteacher at Stanley Road Community Primary School, said: "The Home Access programme has provided us with an exciting opportunity to explore the important role that technology can play in our pupils' and their families' everyday lives at home and school. Following the success of the pilots last year, we have already begun to see links between increased access to technology in the home and a marked improvement in understanding and use from both pupils and their families."