The first COVID-19 lockdown saw demand for our services quadruple. Early indications in this latest lockdown are that this is only going to grow.
The pandemic has exacerbated issues that were prevalent in society, such as poverty, childhood hunger, and mental health – just some of the issues that prevent disadvantaged children from achieving their full potential in education. Where they were just about being managed before, keeping them under control is proving to be an enormous challenge in this pandemic.
This is why our support is more important than ever before.
How we’re responding
Along with the daily challenges they currently face, the parents we work with are understandably very anxious at the moment. We are providing support to them to help them deal with any anxieties they face including when their children are going back to school.
We have been doing lots of work around bridging the digital divide for children with IT equipment or internet connection. We responded to the very urgent need earlier in the pandemic, and were instrumental in getting national coverage to highlight digital poverty as an issue. We welcome the news that the government has bought 300,000 laptops for disadvantaged pupils – which we campaigned for alongside Labour MP Siobhain McDonagh.
We will monitor the roll out of government laptops and the numbers of children returning to school. We want to see whether the devices being received consider the multiple needs of one family.
We are continuing our initiative with the Raspberry Pi Foundation to help provide laptops to the most in need. We still have 50 devices that we are in the process of distributing to identified families. Read about Star, one of the 200 children we’ve supplied desktop kits to since last year.
If needs are not met by the government, we will be signposting and supporting parents to access IT equipment and data from other organisations, unless there is an urgent requirement in which case Practitioners can access the SHS Welfare Fund.
Our messages to you
What is SHS doing to help vulnerable families through the COVID-19 lockdown? published 20th January 2021
Our statement on children without laptops going to school published 6th January 2021
SHS in the media: the home learning disadvantage gap published 2nd June 2020
SHS in the media: safeguarding referrals increase sevenfold published 23rd May 2020
Demand for SHS quadruples since school closures sent 12th May 2020
Children at *home*, ready to learn published 12th May 2020
How we’re supporting families sent 7th April 2020
Message to our supporters sent 24th March 2020
An early statement from our CEO released 20th March 2020
Our support network for professionals
With schools closing and many pastoral professionals working remotely, SHS staff and Members alike have been very active on the SHS Forum. We have created a directory of all posts relating to Coronavirus support, which you can find here.
To access the SHS Forum, simply sign up for free SHS Membership.*
Our collaborations with other organisations
Our CEO, Jaine Stannard, signed the Centre for Social Justice’s letter to The Telegraph to support small charities in this time of crisis. Support is vital to ensure we can continue to deliver key services to vulnerable children and families.
We are also doing a huge amount of work to ensure that families living in digital poverty (without access to laptops or internet) get connected so they can continue to learn, despite schools being closed. In the first week of lockdown alone we identified 130 families in support. To date we’ve supported over 200 families, and more equipment is being sent out every week. This was all achieved thanks to our partnership with the Bloomfield Trust, the Pears Foundation, the Raspberry Pi Foundation and others.
We have also been a signatory to Siobhain McDonagh MP’s letter to the Prime Minister Boris Johnson, calling for children to be supplied with laptops and internet connections.
We are also collaborating with other organisations as part of the Fair Education Alliance – more to follow shortly.
Our social media
We keep our social media updated every weekday and are focused on sharing our own activities as well as highlighting relevant issues.
— School-Home Support (@SHSorguk) March 25, 2020
COVID-19 Risk Assessment
SHS recognises the importance of ensuring the health, safety and wellbeing of its employees, our colleagues in partner organisations and the families we support. In line with government guidance, please click here to see a copy of our Risk Assessment which summarises the areas of risk identified across our organisation. We continue to assess and mitigate risk as part of working best practice with all our employees.