0131 651 6444/ 07386656710 step@ed.ac.uk


STEP Digital Families Programme

Where to start with digital learning: 

An introduction to the Digital Families Programme 

The Digital Families programme supports teachers and families to use digital media in learning.  It aims to increase educational, social and economic opportunities for children and families who experience digital poverty or who are unable to access education due to cultural factors.

The programme is not offered as an alternative to school education but rather as a ‘bridge’ to support families with poor engagement with education and facilitate a return to local authority services.

Each participating family receives a Digital Kit and a key person is identified to co-ordinate the learning. This can be a classroom teacher, if the child has been enrolled in a school, or a Traveller Educator or member of the ASL team from the local authority. 

STEP will provide support through a professional learning network for staff and the provision of resources. 


The Digital Kit

The Kit has been designed to overcome known barriers  to learning such as interruptions, low family literacy levels and limited access to WiFi.

The DigiKit includes:

  • A tablet device with capacity for mobile connectivity.
  • A Learning Planner to manage learning in the early stages of a family’s programme. This paper-based learning management tool can be used until digital confidence grows and families progress to the STEP learning app.
  • A protective case to ensure safe storage of the device during travelling periods.
  • A smart pen to extend and enrich user accessibility and interactivity.
  • A personal notebook
  • A SIM card enabling online access in the absence of home broadband.

A Professional Learning Community for Teachers

Teachers who are supporting pupils on the Digital Families programme are invited to join the STEP Digital Families PLC. This is a virtual forum hosted on Microsoft Teams. Participating staff work together to create and share resources, discuss challenges and share success. A weekly drop-in surgery tackles any technical issues as they arise.


Programme outcomes

The following outcomes are expected for participating children and families:

  • Sustained engagement with the education system, particularly during periods of interruption and transitions beyond primary school.
  • Improvements in children and young people’s educational attainment and achievement.
  • Increased involvement in children’s learning for parents and carers
  • Increased digital literacy for adult family members enabling better access to a range of services and work opportunities.


Teachers’ Guide: An introduction to the digital kit for family-based learning

This teachers’ guide will introduce you to the digital families programme, including:

  • What’s in the Digital Kit
  • What’s entailed in your participation
  • Tips on supporting families through the programme
  • Guidance on setting up the iPad, SIM and iTunes card
  • Helpful information on using the STEP Learning Planner, safe practice online and data protection.


Please contact STEP if you know of children and families in your authority who should be included in the programme.