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Remote Education: ICT

Question for Department for Education

UIN HL4050, tabled on 5 May 2020

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the number of children without access to (1) laptops, (2) reliable internet connections and (3) other equipment necessary for them to participate in remote learning.

Answered on

1 June 2020

We are constantly reviewing the needs of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children to ensure they get the support they need at this time.

The Government has committed over £100 million to support vulnerable and disadvantaged children in England to access remote education. We are providing laptops and tablets to disadvantaged children who would otherwise not have access and are preparing for examination in Year 10, receiving support from a social worker or are a care leaver. We are also providing 4G wireless routers to care leavers, children with a social worker at secondary school and disadvantaged Year 10 pupils who do not have sufficient internet connections.

To support householders who face challenges accessing an internet connection, the government has brokered an agreement with all the major telecoms companies aimed at protecting the most vulnerable, as well as those who may become vulnerable due to COVID-19. We are also working to remove data charges for educational resources for families who rely on 4G.

For those in rural areas or without a connection, schools will be able to draw on support from the BBC which is broadcasting lessons on television. Some of the BBC educational content is offline, via the red button, which disadvantaged pupils without digital devices or connectivity will still be able to access

Schools may also choose to draw on the many resources offers which have been made by publishers across the country. The department has published an initial list of high quality online educational resources, which have been identified by some of the country’s leading educational experts to help pupils to learn at home. The list is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-online-education-resources.