Poor broadband and transport links in rural areas 'affecting children's education'

A quarter of homes will be unable to get a broadband connection, according to Rural England
A quarter of homes will be unable to get a broadband connection, according to Rural England

Poor broadband connections in rural areas could be hindering children’s learning, according to a new report.

A study by Rural England also found that three out of five young people in the English countryside do not have adequate public transport to get to secondary school.

The organisation said that children who grow up in rural areas are at a disadvantage when compared to their city and town dwelling peers.

Poor broadband connections means they are less able to use online learning resources and therefore complete their homework to a high quality.

Brian Wilson, director at the campaign group, said: “A lack of a fast broadband connection is an issue in a lot of rural places. It is expanding but it is still the case that about a quarter of homes will be unable to get a broadband connection.

“Schools are increasingly using online learning materials, children are expected to do a lot of homework online.

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“A slow connection at home makes it harder to do homework, particularly research based tasks, projects which involve trying to download attachments or large document.”

The findings were published in the State of Rural Services 2016.

The report added that many young people in these countryside areas cannot get to school in a “reasonable travel time” by public transport or walking.

It says there are more people with low qualifications in rural areas, but improving skills in further education is made difficult because of weak transport links.

Matt Warman, chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary group on broadband, told The Daily Telegraph: “Children aren’t able to do huge chunks of the curriculum if they don’t have a decent connection.

“Some councils have been forward thinking about this, but others have not and it is very clear that some schools are better connected than others and that’s not fair in an education system that is meant to provide equal opportunities for all.

“It is hard for me to justify to one parent whose children have almost zero broadband at school while others have something much better.”

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