To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what progress he has made on the provision of laptops to children from disadvantaged backgrounds.
13 January 2021
The Government is investing over £400 million to support access to remote education and online social care services, including securing 1.3 million laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children and young people.
This includes over 560,000 laptops and tablets that have already been delivered to schools, trusts and local authorities in 2020.
The Department will have dispatched over 750,000 devices in total by the end of this week.
Laptops and tablets are owned by schools, trusts or local authorities who can lend these to children and young people who need them most during the current COVID-19 restrictions.
The Department has partnered with some of the UK’s leading mobile network operators to provide free data to disadvantaged families, which will support access to education resources, including Oak National Academy, and other websites.
Families will benefit from this additional data until July 2021. Schools are able to request free mobile data uplifts via the Get Help with Technology service. Further information on the Get Help with Technology service is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/get-help-with-technology-for-remote-education-during-coronavirus-covid-19.
The Department has already provided over 54,000 4G wireless routers, with free data for the academic year, and continues to provide 4G wireless routers where children need to access remote education.
Support is also available for schools to get set up on Google or Microsoft platforms. These platforms bring together the school community, pool resources and give pupils the opportunity to work with their peers remotely. As of 5 January 2021, 6900 schools have applied to the Department’s digital platforms programme that forms part of the Get Help With Technology programme.
The EdTech Demonstrator Programme is in place to promote effective use of devices, including ways they can be used to promote greater accessibility to the curriculum.