To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the number of households with school-age children that do not have access to the internet.
11 September 2020
In the last academic year, the Department invested over £100 million to support remote education and delivered over 220,000 laptops and tablets and over 50,000 4G wireless routers to local authorities and academy trusts for children who would not otherwise have access.
The Department allocated devices to local authorities and academy trusts based on its estimates of the number of eligible children that did not have access to a device or connectivity through other means, such as a privately or through school. Local authorities and academy trusts were responsible for distributing the devices, being best placed to know which children and young people need access to a device delivered through the programme.
Where local authorities and academy trusts identified a need greater than their initial allocation, they could provide evidence and request more laptops, tablets and routers. No valid request for additional devices for eligible children was denied.
The Department has published data that shows the number of devices and routers received by each local authority and academy trust that participated in the scheme. This information is available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/912888/Devices_and_4G_wireless_routers_progress_data_as_of_27_August_2020.pdf.
The Department is now supplementing this support by making an initial 150,000 additional devices available in the event that face-to-face schooling is disrupted as a result of local COVID-19 restrictions.