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Home Access Programme Evaluation
In September 2008, the Prime Minister announced a commitment of £300 million to support the Government's aspiration to connect to a computer and broadband the estimated 1 million children who currently lack such access at home in England. This announcement closely followed the delivery of the Final Report of the Schools Minister's Taskforce into Home Access to Technology. As a result, Becta was tasked with the delivery of the Home Access programme - a targeted intervention 'to overcome the existing market failure and growing digital divide with the aim of ensuring that children and families benefit from home access to technology'. Becta has spent the last 12 months planning for the national delivery of the Home Access programme, including running the Home Access pilot in two local authorities. Work to date has been undertaken in conjunction in partnership in the third sector, other Government agencies and industry, and this mode of working will continue in the national programme. The Home Access programme is being independently reviewed by SQW Consulting, in conjunction with Ipsos MORI and the London Knowledge Lab. The first report from the independent review is the Pilot Progress Report. Key findings are: • The pilot was successful in engaging with schools, families and other channels. As a result the pilot was very successful in achieving its targeted gross outputs, reaching an estimated 93 per cent of eligible families. • The application and grant process was very effective, and was responded to positively by beneficiaries. • The pilot succeeded in uncovering important lessons to support improvements to effectiveness and value for money of the national roll out. These include effective targeting of the grant and ensuring schools and teachers are well-informed about the programme. • The pilot was very successful in accelerating home access. On average households got access 2.4 years earlier than they would have otherwise. This is something the researchers describe as 'a worthwhile acceleration effect' at a formative stage for young people. • There were very positive early indications of educational benefit. Beneficiary children spent an average of 5.8 hours per week using the computer for learning ('schoolwork/homework/learning activities'). This is was an hour a week more for learning than a comparator group who had existing access. • There were also positive early indications of wider benefits. For example, 81 per cent of parents reported that home access would help their own confidence in using technology. The report makes several recommendations. Becta has welcomed the report and responded to these recommendations as part of its 'One Year On' review of the Home Access programme.
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  • IOE - Culture, Communication & Media
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