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Children: Coronavirus

Department for Education written question – answered on 30th June 2020.

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Photo of Richard Holden Richard Holden Conservative, North West Durham

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many free laptops have been made available in (a) Durham County Council and Darlington Borough council area and (b) each parliamentary constituency in the Durham County Council and Darlington Borough council area for school children since the closure of schools in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

The Government has committed over £100 million to support vulnerable and disadvantaged children in England to access remote education and social care services, including by providing laptops, tablets and 4G wireless routers.

We are providing laptops and tablets to disadvantaged children who would otherwise not have access and are preparing for examinations in Year 10, receiving support from a social worker or are a care leaver. Where care leavers, children with a social worker at secondary school and children in Year 10 do not have internet connections, we are providing 4G wireless routers.

The Department of Education has ordered over 200,000 laptops and tablets and allocated devices to local authorities and academy trusts based on its estimates of the number of eligible children that do not have access to a device. Local authorities and academy trusts are best place to identify and prioritise children and young people who need devices. The Department is working to provide these devices in the shortest possible timeframe; deliveries to local authorities began in May and has continued throughout June.

The Department has published information about how many laptops, tablets and 4G wireless routers we have delivered or dispatched to local authorities and academy trusts as of 14 June, which can be viewed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/laptops-tablets-and-4g-wireless-routers-progress-data. This includes 1,424 devices to Durham County Council and 410 devices to Darlington Borough Council for children with a social worker and care leavers.

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