Please find attached, the final report from the GCSN’s survey of online learning during the COVID-19 lockdown some of you participated in earlier this year.

This report and associated data-gathering and analysis was conducted by the Greater Christchurch Schools’ Network (GCSN) Trust as part of its work in bridging the digital divide in the greater Christchurch region. 

It focuses on remote learning during the level 3 and 4 lockdown New Zealand experienced during the global COVID-19 pandemic. During this lockdown, schools needed to transition toremote learning to minimise the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

This report summarises the connectivity of students, parents, and staff in the greater Christchurch region, assesses the experiences of learning in lockdown of these groups, and makes recommendations for further work in bridging the digital divide as well as having adequate procedures and policies in place should school closures happen again in the future.

The GCSN is a charitable trust which works to bridge the digital divide for school-aged students and their whānau through the development, implementation, and evaluation of programmes and initiatives in the greater Christchurch region.

The findings of this report highlight the ongoing impact of the digital divide, particularly for students keeping up with their peers while learning from home. It demonstrates the importance of continuing local and national initiatives to bridge that divide for school-aged students.

In particular, I would like to see focused initiatives and government funding to close the digital divide for the “last 5%” who are without devices and internet connections. This must happen to enable all students to benefit from digital learning education opportunities, and not just the 95% with devices and Internet connections. Only then will we allow all students to achieve to their potential, irrespective of ethnic or socio demographic background.

I would like to acknowledge the efforts of Dr. Gabrielle Wall, Jordan Mayes, and Joshua James for their efforts in collating the information in this report, and Emerita Professor Niki Davis for her editing assistance.

Steve Wakefield
Greater Christchurch Schools’ Network Trust

August 2020