This post refers to the pilot of the Home Access Programme, for 2009, which has now finished.
There's now an updated blog post all about the Home Access Programme Suppliers for 2010, which is much more useful to you!
A little earlier I got my “Dummy’s Guide to the Home Access Programme” done, which I realised I had to do before I could start this next subject.
It was only an hour ago, so you’ll remember the basics:
- Government gives grants to low-income families
- Families take Grant card to approved supplier, and swap it for approved computer package
- Everybody’s happy
- Family is happy because they’ve got a free computer
- Kids are happy because they can now IM all their mates, get online, and connect to the school Learning Platform (uhm, well there’s bound to be one or two happy with that bit)
- Government are happy because they’re finally getting the last 15% of households with children but no computer, online
- Suppliers are happy because after working on the programme (in some cases for 18 months), they’ve finally got a computer off the shelves (which in today’s economy is important, and only fair enough)
- Schools are happy because you can now move on from wondering “what could we do with our Learning Platform if we could be sure every pupil had access from home”. Soon, you’ll be able to just do it (imagine, no more letters home, printed worksheets and ‘the dog ate my homework’ * )
- And you’ll remember we’re still in the pilot phase until the autumn
The list of Home Access Approved Suppliers
On Monday Becta announced the suppliers who had been approved for the pilot programme. Their announcement is here, but the summary info is that the approved suppliers are:
- Centerprise International Ltd
- Positive IT Solutions
- RM Education plc
- Stone Computers Ltd
- XMA Ltd
So this means that from the end of next month, parents in Oldham and Suffolk (the two trial areas) will be able to go to these suppliers to get their approved Next Generation Learning @ Home packages (Name change number 3? We’ve gone from Universal Home Access, to Home Access Programme, perhaps to Next Generation Learning @ Home?)
I know it’s a pilot, and the purpose of the pilot is to learn things, but one of the early learnings I’m hoping to spot is that some of these suppliers will create partnerships with retail suppliers. I don’t want to stereotype the bottom 15% of income households, but I’m willing to bet that 99% of them have never heard of these suppliers. But they have heard of the main supermarkets, the mobile phone suppliers and the major electrical chains. So perhaps we’ll see these packages offered through these kind of stores. These families don’t have a computer, so they’re not going to be ordering online. And I think it’s unlikely they will turn to the school for advice (again, trying to avoid stereotype, but the demographic research implies that typically these families will not have a lot of contact their local school). So that means the scheme really does need these computers to be on the shelves at their local Tesco or Comet, or another local retailer they would be confident walking into.
* Now for some fun. If this programme does away with “the dog ate my homework”, what are going to be the new excuses that your pupils will come up with, when they have to submit their homework online. And I’m not talking about the real ones, like ‘Couldn’t get a 3G signal’, or ‘The Internet wasn’t working’. I’m looking for the truly creatively inspired ones. Pop them into the Comment box below (you’ll need to register or login), and I’ll give a prize to the most creative by next Friday (small print, small print, and some more small print. Not valid in Quebec).