Kim Rihal, Co-Founder and Head of Partnerships, Equal Education
Most people remember “Age of Aquarius” from the 1960s musical Hair, but the reference I make here is to the new way of working and the way technology will change education forever. We have seen communities come together to teach children and parents spending more time with their children as a result of the global pandemic.
Computers are already ubiquitous, and they will become an even greater part of our lives. No surprise there, but what will stun us is how computers will affect everything we do.
As the Head teacher of two inner-city local authority school’s safeguarding has been at the forefront of my mind with the vulnerable children, I have the pleasure of serving. After many years of witnessing children being failed by the British Education system due to ‘behavioural issues’ which led to them being permanently excluded from school.
Equal Education has taken the Oxford and Cambridge model of one to one tuition, and our tutors only work with Looked After Children, Children in Need and those with special educational needs and disabilities. Given the attachment trauma and varying needs providing one to one tuition is what these children need, having a tutor come and sit with them and are able to adapt their teaching methods to suit their needs.
Alone behold a global pandemic, and we witnessed a huge increase in people using the digital world to work, to have meetings or to go to school and to exercise. We too moved our tuition model online, and it became very apparent the number of families that did not have access to digital technology; from tablets to laptops.
Equal Education has been awarded a £50,000 grant to provide iPads to vulnerable learners for remote learning in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
In response to concerns over access to technology devices and the widening of the attainment gap during school closures, Equal Education set up a Technology Supply Service to enable schools and Local Authorities to order iPads to be delivered to those who need them.
To address concerns over online safety and mitigate risk, Equal Education has secured a relationship with Apple UK that secures the devices, pre-installing them with specialist protection software, which limits distracting and dangerous websites or apps.
The grant will allow Equal Education to build on its services as a provider of tuition and explore innovative ways of closing the digital divide and the educational attainment gap for vulnerable students.
I want to leave you with a note of our evolution and how from 6500 BC to 4000 BC, humans began to develop their intellect, as well as languages and written communication. 4000 BC to 2000 BC money and banking are formed and are still the drivers for growth now.
Fast forward to the present day, 2000-4000 we are progressive with robots, the internet and other technologies. In Greek mythology, Aquarius is Prometheus, the Titan God that stole fire from the Gods and gave it to humans. The fire is, of course, a symbol for the light of knowledge, but also, quite literally, Aquarius is a symbol for electricity and other types of renewable energy.
This is an exciting time for education and its advances, particularly for vulnerable learners.