To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by the Sutton Trust Learning in Lockdown, published in January; and what steps they are taking to assist schools in targeting resources to disadvantaged children.
23 February 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.
The data for the Sutton Trust report was collected at the start of the new term. Since then, the department has substantially increased delivery of devices to support vulnerable and disadvantaged pupils with remote learning. Already since the start of this scheme, over one million laptops and tablets have been delivered to schools, academy trusts, local authorities and further education providers to date.
We have also partnered with the UK’s leading mobile operators to provide free data to help disadvantaged children get online as well as delivering over 60,000 4G wireless routers for pupils without connection at home and buying more for issues.
Where remote education is needed and pupils continue to experience barriers to digital remote education, we expect schools to work to overcome these barriers. This could include distributing school-owned laptops or supplementing digital provision with different forms of remote education such as printed resources or textbooks. This should be supplemented with other forms of communication to keep pupils and students on track or answer questions about work.
We have introduced a new £350 million National Tutoring Programme for disadvantaged pupils and students. This will increase access to high quality tuition for disadvantaged and vulnerable children and young people, helping to accelerate their academic progress and tackling the attainment gap between them and their peers.
As part of the National Tutoring Programme, schools in the most disadvantaged areas are being supported to employ in-house Academic Mentors to provide tuition to their pupils. During this period of national restrictions, as members of school staff, we expect mentors to continue providing tuition support to pupils in line with their school's policies.