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Remote Education: ICT

Question for Department for Education

UIN 168912, tabled on 15 March 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what ongoing support will be provided to schools and colleges by his Department to tackle the digital exclusion of their pupils after the completion of the roll-out of the Get Help with Technology Scheme.

Answered on

23 March 2021

The Department for Education is investing over £400 million to support access to remote education and online social care. The Department is making available 1.3 million laptops and tablets and have already delivered over 1.2 million of these to schools, colleges, trusts, and local authorities, supporting disadvantaged children and young people who would not otherwise have access to a digital device.

All devices provided to schools and colleges by the Get Help with Technology scheme are the property of these institutions. The devices are intended to give schools the flexibility to provide remote education support and can continue to be used in the longer term either in the classroom or from home.

Those placing orders for devices through the Get Help with Technology service were given the option to select laptops and tablets with or without the Department for Education safeguarding and security settings applied. For those who required Department for Education settings, we are providing support and guidance to ensure they are prepared so devices can continue to be used to support educational activities in advance of the licence expiry date of the end of September 2021.

Schools can apply to gain access to and training on a free digital education platform. They can choose to apply to use either Google G Suite for Education or Office 365 Education. They can find out more and submit their application through the Get Help with Technology programme. The Key for School Leaders website also provides feature comparison and case studies on how schools are making the most of these platforms to help schools make the most appropriate choice.

Online education support is available for schools through the EdTech Demonstrator Programme, a peer support network offering training and advice to schools and colleges on ways technology can be used to strengthen remote education and catch-up arrangements. It provides access to a network of schools and colleges who are already using remote education technology resources and can help those new to online education platforms to develop effective practice. This will help schools understand how to best use technology to promote pupil engagement and achievement and consider how best to support pupils with special educational needs and disabilities.

The Digital Platforms Programme, within the Get Help with Technology Scheme, has been extended for a further 12 months. The extension will give other schools the opportunity to apply to the programme and claim their grant by the end of March 2022.