Chromebooks for all
The Academy listened to the experiences of both parents and students and one thing that was made abundantly clear is that families’ digital access is widely different. For some families, every individual has a form of device, but for others, children vie for access to the one device in the household. This disparity in digital access means that students fall behind rapidly. Teachers also find supporting home learning incredibly challenging, having to identify each child’s level of digital access and tailoring to those specific circumstances.
To level the playing field, we launched our Digital Equality initiative which sees every student receive a Chromebook to use and keep in the home. This ensures all students have the same digital experience and a standardised level of access to digital learning resources and live classes should students see themselves home learning again. Students will no longer have to compete for access in the home. Furthermore, parents have the added benefit of the Academy’s safeguarding tools on the device which maintains student safety and upholds appropriate use.
Cost of the device
While the initial cost of purchasing these devices and related software has been met by the Academy, our aim is adopt this as an ongoing policy. In order to make this financially sustainable now and for future generations, we will be asking all parents to contribute to the cost by making payments to a ring-fenced IT fund.
The suggested level of donation is £20 per term over a three year period, making a total donation of £60 per year, and £180 overall. This is considerably lower than the actual cost to the Academy and, if you were to buy the Chromebook and software directly yourself, the cost would be at least double this amount.
By spreading the donation over three years rather than five, we are ensuring that those pupils in the older year groups will be able to make the same contribution as those in the younger year groups, over the course of their career at the Academy, by continuing to make contributions during their Sixth Form years.
We understand that many people have suffered significant financial hardship due to the current situation. However, we would ask that every parent pays the suggested amount if they can possibly afford it, as the more money we are able to raise from our parent body, the less this will impinge on the Academy’s own resources which would be better used supporting our students in other ways.
Purpose of issuing Chromebooks
These Chromebooks are to be kept at home to ensure uninterrupted access to our online learning tools:
- Satchel One (previously Show My Homework)
- Microsoft Office suite
This will be invaluable for our students both in the event of any further interruptions to in-school learning because of the pandemic and to ensure they are readily able to access homework tasks under normal circumstances.
Another significant benefit of this policy is that the Chromebooks will be linked to our network and therefore protected by our
- forensic safeguarding software; and
- Google’s management console.
This means that your child’s activities will be limited to sites that are considered safe and secure by Google’s educational platform, at the same time as being monitored by a third party on behalf of the Academy for anything inappropriate. This should give you, as parents, peace of mind that they will remain safe and on task whilst doing their school work.
We recognise that some students may already have their own laptop, tablet or Chromebook at home, but in order to ensure that their online learning activities are appropriately monitored and safeguarded, we will still issue them with a school Chromebook.
Responsibility and ownership
The Chromebook will remain the property of the Academy while students remain at the school. However, responsibility for its care lies with the student and you as his/her parent/carer. Attached to this letter is the loan agreement that every student and parent/carer will be required to sign before taking possession of their Chromebook, laying out the respective responsibilities of the Academy and the student/ parents or carers.
Your key responsibility will be to ensure that the device is maintained in working order so that the benefits of it to your child are never lost. If there is a fault, which is covered by warranty, it can be returned to the Academy to be fixed, but any damage or loss will need to be rectified at your own cost. For this reason, we strongly recommend that you ensure that the Chromebook is covered by your household insurance and that you do not allow your child to take it out of the home unless absolutely necessary.
The Academy may from time to time require the Chromebook to be brought to site for checking and software updates.
On leaving the Academy, provided a full year three years of contribution have been paid, we will unlock the device from our network and gift it to your child. Otherwise, the expectation will be that it is returned.
How to sign up
To sign up to this initiative please contact either your child’s Student Achievement Manager or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will send you a digital agreement form which you will need to fill in and submit. You can view a PDF copy of the agreement on the link below.