Poorer children less likely to be able to use web for homework

Learning 21st Century style! Local pupils completed Ilex's survey to determine the use of internet to complete homework.
Learning 21st Century style! Local pupils completed Ilex's survey to determine the use of internet to complete homework.

Poorer children in Londonderry are less likely to have access to the internet at home in order to complete their homework.

According to a new survey by local regeneration company Ilex, 94 per cent of children in the city, overall, had access to the internet at home ‘in order to complete their homework.’

But when it comes to children who are entitled to Free School Meals (FSM). the figure stands at just 87 per cent. The survey also finds that poorer children are less likely to have internet access at home generally.

According to Ilex: “For those children entitled to FSM access to the internet at home stood at 93 per cent. This proportion was significantly lower than the proportion of pupils, not entitled to FSM, who had access to the internet at home (99 per cent).”

Another finding is that pupils attending local grammar schools are more likely to use the internet to do their homework than their counterparts attending local secondary schools.

“Overall, 71 per cent of those pupils enrolled in grammar schools used the internet for homework on an occasional or more frequent basis compared with 58 per cent of those pupils at secondary school,” according to Ilex.

“However, uses of the internet for homework increases as pupils get older, both within grammar and secondary schools.

“By the time they reach their A-level years, 78 per cent of grammar school pupils use the internet occasionally or more frequently to help with their homework whilst the rate for secondary pupils is similar and stands at 84 per cent,” the survey finds.

Secondary school pupils (75 per cent) are also more likely than grammar pupils (62 per cent) to use the internet on school machines.

The findings are amongst those emerging from the new digital media survey, which was recently conducted by Ilex to determine the access young people have to digital media

The responses were collected from November 2013 through to March 2014. Pupils were encouraged by their respective school authorities to complete the survey and facilities were made available for pupils to do so.

Michael Gallagher, Ilex’s Strategy & Regeneration Manager said: “Distance or e-learning is growing at a rapid pace across the world but particularly in less developed regions. If the city is to remain competitive, then we must embrace new technology and digital content by both using and producing it. We need to ensure that our young people have the skills and ambition required by schools, employers and digital entrepreneurs.”

Gerard McCleave, Director of Strategy & Regeneration at Ilex added: “These results are very encouraging, indicating that 97 per cent of post-primary pupils have access to the internet, which has grown from 90 per cent in 2009.

“The survey has also revealed that young people are extremely digitally literate, with 96 per cent using the internet for social media purposes. These results demonstrate the underlying strength of young people in our city.”

To download the full report of findings, please go to www.ilex-urc.com