Written evidence submitted by the 1851 Trust
The impact of COVID-19 on education and children’s services. Evidence supplied by the 1851 Trust, official charity of INEOS TEAM UK, the British challenge for the 36th America’s Cup, led by Sir Ben Ainslie.
About the 1851 Trust
Support for pupils and families during school closures- remote learning
Our digital education platform contains resources in science, DT and maths which are wholly linked to the national curriculum. Resources on the platform are normally aimed at teachers but a week prior to lockdown we produced a series of 6 projects which were aimed at remote learning for young people with very little adult support needed.
Anecdotal evidence from our school partnerships suggests that schools varied greatly in the online education they were able to offer. With very little planning and preparation time, schools were reliant on external organisations such as the 1851 Trust to provide suitable curriculum-linked resources. This has been demonstrated with our statistics for the use of our platform, stemcrew.org.
Our online digital education platform showed a 200% increase in usage during the period of school closures when compared with the same period in 2019.
In addition, the number of logged in sessions increased by 266% during March, April and May of 2020 up from 2019. This suggests that users were engaging with the resources, rather than bouncing off the site. Total downloads increased by 465% from the same period in 2019.
Despite this upturn in usage of the site, anecdotal evidence from partner schools suggested that engagement with pupils was severely affected by school closure, even where online lessons were offered.
‘We have had no children attending school’ -Tile Cross, Birmingham, at the start of lockdown regarding key worker children, who could be attending school.
‘School remains closed because there is no demand from vulnerable children or children of key workers. I have had zero response from any of the pupils I targeted with the STEM resources – who were our keen Sea Cadets and members of our three after school STEM clubs. I think we still have only about 30% of pupils engaging in any way with school.’ – Tile Cross During the lockdown’
Lack of IT tools for the most disadvantaged
Working alongside our principle funder, INEOS, we were able to facilitate a grant to one of our partner schools, Ark Charter Academy, through the international INEOS Community Fund.
This donation was be used to provide vital IT devices to disadvantaged young learners so that they can continue their studies from home for the period of the Coronavirus crisis.
The grant was used to provide students in the critical year 10 cohort with IT devices that enable them to access educational support ahead of their GCSEs, and to ensure students have access to resources which provide mental health and wellbeing support. In doing so, this grant fills the critical gap created by the COVID-19 crisis, and ensure vulnerable students remain supported.
Emily Morey, Principal of Ark Charter Academy, said: “We are delighted to receive this grant from INEOS. This grant will enable the Academy to support its most vulnerable and deprived students, ensuring our curriculum is inclusive and equitable. From parent surveys, we know that access to the internet is not the biggest barrier, but that access to an appropriate device is. Without a device, those students, currently in Year 10, will be further disadvantaged in their learning towards GCSE examinations. For many, these exams will be a defining moment in their academic life; impacting on their opportunities and potential for adult life.”
School closures and disadvantaged groups
The inability to run our Rebels sailing programme due to school closure has been detrimental to the most disadvantaged groups. Rebels sailing is aimed at the most disadvantaged groups as identified by the DfE opportunity areas data. Schools in these areas, nationwide, were invited to select pupils receiving free school meals to attend a seven-week sailing programme in the 2019 Summer term. The positive impact of the programme in 2019 can be shown in the following extracts from a case study with Sir John Hunt Community College in Plymouth.
‘After having taken part in Rebels Crew, a lot of our students have been to after school clubs, they’re getting more homework done, they’re answering better in classes, grades have increased, which is a huge plus for us, so the programme has really benefitted our students in more ways than one.’
Chelsea Robinson, KS3 Learning Mentor, Sir John Hunt Community College, Plymouth
‘I really enjoyed sailing. It was great to try something new and do something fun with my friends. I now go to a boxing club after school which I never did before because I was too nervous to try a new sport.’ Cody, Year 7