Is online school preferable to in person school? By Charlotte Hitching, Bancroft’s School

It is, undoubtedly, much easier to get ready for school in the mornings when it is online. There is no need to wake up ridiculously early to get dressed and travel to school, all you need to do is throw on some comfortable clothes and set up a laptop. For the rest of the day you largely remain in one place and depending on the school have live lessons or are set work. Theoretically it should be a much more productive day. But is it?

With school now being online in some cases it is more productive, without the distractions being at school offers, but for others it is a real challenge. For those who don’t have access to laptops and computers, it has made school increasingly difficult. Ofcom has estimated that between 1.4 and 1.78 million children have no access to a laptop, desktop or tablet, meaning that their education has been significantly disrupted. This is generally the case among children of lower classes which further compounds the class divides as poorer families cannot afford to access education, so will be less well educated than richer families. This has now changed in the 3rd lockdown which begun on January 5th, 2021 with children without digital devices at home now being allowed to go into school to learn. In addition to this, the Department for Education on the 12th January announced that they would be providing a further 300,000 laptops and tablets to help disadvantaged children and young people learn at home. This means that these children will now have access to online learning resources and will not need to go into school.

Hypothetically, if all of the children in the UK had access to all the resources they would in the classroom, as well as a laptop or device, then there would be no reason to suggest that online school is any less productive and effective as actually going to school in person. In fact, less time is probably wasted between lessons and learning can all be done from the comfort of your own home.

This being said, personally, I definitely prefer actual school. For me, part of what helps me to enjoy school and thus probably makes me more productive is the in-person interaction with other people. Yes, it is still possible to talk to people during lessons over Microsoft Teams or Zoom, but it is not the same. On top of this, I have found that it is much easier to lose focus and become distracted when school is online. All in all I think, alongside many others, I’m sure, that it will be a relief when lockdown is over and we can return to school.