To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to promote the repurposing of digital devices no longer needed by (a) private sector businesses and (b) members of the public for use by pupils who cannot afford a digital device for their education.
11 January 2021
The Department is investing over £300 million to help schools and young people in England continue their education at home and access online social care. Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Department has already delivered over 560,000 laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children who would not otherwise have access to a digital device.
The Department is adding to this support by making a further 440,000 devices available bringing the total to over a million laptops and tablets available to support disadvantaged children that might experience disruption to their education. The laptops and tablets are an injection of support to help schools, academy trusts and local authorities to provide access to remote education and online social care. Schools, academy trusts and local authorities are responsible for distributing the laptops and tablets and are best placed to know which children and young people need access to a device.
As face-to-face education is now disrupted, we know that it is critical to get schools the support that they need in the shortest time frame.
The Department considered options to refurbish second-hand laptops and tablets but these could not be rolled out to schools and local authorities at scale over the urgent timeframe to meet the needs of these children, young people and families.