To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent estimate he has made of how many and what proportion of (a) primary and (b) secondary school children have access to (i) IT equipment and (ii) broadband (A) in York and (B) nationally.
20 September 2021
Ofcom runs an annual survey which publishes data on children’s access to technology, available here: https://www.ofcom.org.uk/research-and-data/media-literacy-research/childrens. This data informed the Department for Education’s COVID-19 response through the Get Help with Technology programme.
The department has invested over £400 million to support access to remote education and online social care. Over 1.35 million laptops and tablets have been distributed to schools, colleges, academy trusts and local authorities, supporting disadvantaged children and young people who would not otherwise have access to a digital device.
The department has provided support for over 110,000 families to get online through uplifts in mobile data and 4G wireless routers. This included partnering with the UK’s leading mobile operators to provide free data to help over 33,000 disadvantaged children get online and delivering over 77,000 4G wireless routers for pupils without connection at home.
The department has recently announced new funding to support schools and colleges in providing internet access for disadvantaged pupils whose face-to-face education is disrupted during the autumn term. We have continued to enable ordering of 4G wireless routers for pupils without internet access.
The department supports the role of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) in leading digital inclusion across government. We are working closely with DCMS to improve broadband connections in schools. DCMS has powers to address some affordability issues for some telecoms services.