Below are some of the most common questions we get asked by parents.
If you have a question that is not listed below please ask us and we will do our best to answer it for you, or direct you to somewhere that should be able to help you.
Please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org
Why is inclusiveness so important?
There are two answers to this. BeLF exists as a Charity to make sure that none of our children are left out, or left behind. So we do everything we can to make sure everyone is somehow part of our schemes.
There is also the thing we call levelling-up. Classroom teaching has to be based on what every student is equipped to do. So we make sure that every student is better equipped so that the class can leap forward together, and the expectations and the results are better for the whole class.
Are these iPads or Chromebooks or Tablets new?
Yes. The school will buy them from dealers and they are exactly the same as the ones in shops or online. Years ago, we had to open the boxes to set some things up, and install apps or software. But now that the devices can be remotely managed, this is all done at the school and the student will get a sealed, unopened box.
I can get one of these cheaper
No you can't. The schools purchase thousands of these devices and take advantage of manufacturers educational discounts. There's also a situation with the way that VAT works that allows us to keep costs low.
Please remember that there are other costs in addition to the device; like insurance and the protective cases.
But as we jokingly say at parent meetings when asked this question.
If you can buy them cheaper, could you get us a thousand please, so that everyone can have one
Can my son or daughter bring one from home?
In theory, Yes they can. It's the BYO (bring your own) model. But because the school has a responsibility for your child's safety - and other children's safety - they will have rules on things like network access. And insurance for your device might be awkward.
We will also help and do everything we can to make sure your child feels the same as his or her classmates. And if you understand our need and desire for levelling-up the whole cohort, you'll understand that we very occasionally ask parents to level-down slightly.
There are some projects - particularly the Chromebook schemes - where the device is very specific to the school. And while it is possible, it would be very difficult to find a similar enough device.
If this is such a good idea, why don't all schools do it?
We honestly wish that we had the resources to work with every school. And it takes time - and a great deal of effort from the school - to launch our projects one class, or one cohort at a time.
How else do schools get devices for pupil 1:1 schemes?
There might be schools that have enough money to buy and give out devices to all pupils. But that would be very difficult given the financial pressures that schools have.
There are also schools that simply ask parents to buy or obtain a device, sometimes by suggesting where they can buy it. In BeLF's opinion, this doesn't work because; it's expensive, unfair, and doesn't work because not everyone in the class will get one.
Why can’t the school provide these for nothing?
The school receives some funding for ICT in school, and this gets spent on their network, website, ICT suite, interactive whiteboards, printers, etc. Equipment for use at home and for personal use by your children is over and above this, which is why we have to ask families to help the school.
Will my child be safe carrying the computer home?
We all need to be aware of the risks the children could face on their way home but the number of recorded incidents is surprisingly low. All computers are security tagged and protected, but if a child is approached for their computer, they should hand it over without resistance and then inform you so you can let the police and the school know. It's also worth noting that the devices can be managed and geo-located. If you're aware of apps like 'Find my Phone'; it's the same technology. With the right approvals (yours, the school's, or even the police if appropriate) the device can be erased, wiped, switched off, and/or found. And it's currently impossible for thieves to get round this. They'll probably be aware of this.
But please remind your children that it's only a computer, and we can replace it. The most important thing is that they feel and stay safe.
Who owns the computer?
The computers are normally the property of the school while the programme is running, or they might be owned by a leasing company until they are paid for. Your contribution is a charitable donation towards the programme, not a payment towards the computer. At the end of the scheme, the device is yours. The technical term is that it has been 'abandoned to you'. If you move school and would like to keep the device, just get in touch and we will sort out any of the necessary details.
Does every child in the class have a computer?
Yes, our intent is that every child in the class has access to a similar device, so that the teacher can plan homework knowing that no one is left out. This is different from schemes where some children in a class get a computer and schemes where only the ones who can afford it get one.
What happens if I can’t make the regular donations?
No child will be excluded from the programme because of their financial circumstances so please come and talk to us so we can ensure your child is included.
It’s important that everyone participates. If you think that the donation is unaffordable for you or perhaps you can only manage a smaller amount for a while then let your school know. If too many parents are unhappy about contributing, we may not be able to get the programme started in your child’s school. This is why we ask you to let the school know if you think this is a good idea and if you would be happy to contribute before the programme is started.
You have the choice not to participate but, once you are clear how the Programme works, we are sure you will want to.
Currently over 95% of parents involved in our schemes make the monthly contributions. In many schools it really is 100%. We track this so that we can assure everyone involved that our schemes are fair.
Do I have to sign the Gift Aid declaration?
It is vital that you do this if you are a UK taxpayer otherwise the cost of administering the collection of monthly donations has to come out of the donations themselves. Gift Aid applies to cash and cheque contributions as well as direct debits so please do sign it if you are a taxpayer.
BeLF is grateful for your support. And it is able to cover its costs, charitably assist where appropriate, and grant at least the monthly amount you contribute back to your school.
Remember that if you sign the declaration each £1 you donate is worth £1.25 to the Charity through Gift Aid. This makes the money go further.
Why do our children need their own computer?
Children need to be prepared for an increasingly digital world and this will give them a unique opportunity to be highly skilled. Research has confirmed that children with good home access to technology get better grades.
Schools are expected to provide links to learning resources through their website, all of which presuppose that every student can work at home, to complete an assignment, access the school’s learning resources, or run through a lesson they missed.
What is the Parental Contribution and how much do I need to pay?
The exact donation will be determined by your school and will be set at a level that they believe is very affordable. It is likely to be a monthly donation over 24/36 months as evidence of your commitment to this Programme.
The funding model relies on the existence of Parental Contributions. It is only by demonstrating your commitment to the programme through a sustainable income from parents' charitable donations, that some of the other funding will be released.
The Birmingham eLearning Foundation will administer the Parental Contributions on behalf of the school through the Charity.
Can I pay by cash or cheque?
Collecting cash involves a lot more work and administration costs for the school so our overwhelming preference is for you to sign a direct debit. However, if this is not possible then the school will be able to make arrangements to make sure you can contribute in a way that works for you and the school.
What happens if I change my mind in a few months time?
This would give the school a big problem, as their decision to go ahead and buy the devices for the children will be based on the initial level of support from the parents. Changing your mind halfway through the Programme would compromise the school’s finances. This is a commitment to the children that needs to be seen through.