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Becta's Schools website offers advice and guidance to school leadership teams on how technology can be built into teaching, learning and management.

Getting more for your money

Assistive technology and the Home Access programme


Ensuring that all learners are able to access computers and the internet is vitally important to the Home Access programme. Home Access packages are designed to be inclusive and are built with every child’s needs in mind.

The suite of assistive technology software pre-loaded onto every computer is designed to make it easier for everyone to get the most out of using computers and getting online, but is particularly useful for learners with special educational needs. It has also been recognised that some learners may need extra help with accessing computers and the internet and assistive technology hardware will be made available to ensure their active participation in the programme.

Assistive technology software

The Home Access package assistive technology suite is a brilliant learning tool for the whole family and includes:

  • Read&Write Home Access Edition: This software provides text applications that can help everyone develop their literacy skills. It helps with effective sentence construction by providing a list of suggested words in a prediction panel. It automatically learns the user’s particular writing style and predicts the word they will want to use next. Text-to-Speech software, which will read aloud text in documents and websites, as well as saving them onto a personal media player to listen to when it’s convenient for the user, is also included.
  • MindView 3 Home Access: helps everyone more easily visualise ideas by creating highly-effective Mind Maps. It’s particularly useful for visual learners or those who struggle to record ideas using text only. Ideas can be recorded using pictures, sounds and video as an aid to studying, problem solving, decision making and writing. And once they’ve got those ideas down, they can easily transform them into stunning animated presentations, word documents or even a complete website!
  • iZoom: The programme magnifies any section of the screen to aid viewing. Great for the visually impaired but also great for other users who are sharing a screen while working collaboratively.

Families with children that have additional assistive technology needs can apply for specialist hardware to help them access computers and the internet. Depending on the individual’s needs two packages are available, Assistive Technology package 1 or Assistive Technology package 2.

Assistive Technology package 1

This is designed for children that experience physical barriers to using a computer. It includes extra hardware, such as an adapted mouse, an alternative keyboard or keyboard stickers. It will help children to fully engage with learning at home.

Assistive Technology package 2

This is designed for children with more profound needs and will be tailored to the learner’s specific individual requirements. A specialist evaluation officer will liaise with the family to identify the most suitable assistive technology hardware, and once agreed, the equipment will be delivered direct to the family’s door.

We’ve made a short film showing how some of our Home Access assistive technology hardware users are using their new equipment.

Printer friendly printer friendly version of this page Published: 09 February 2010
Last modified: 17 February 2010