Children and Young People: Internet

Department for Education written question – answered on 13th July 2020.

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Photo of Helen Hayes Helen Hayes Shadow Minister (Cabinet Office)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, for how long his Department plans to pay for internet access, through broadband or 4G routers, for children and young people eligible for technology support.

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 online social care services, including by providing laptops, tablets and 4G wireless routers.

Where care leavers, children with a social worker at secondary school and disadvantaged children in year 10 do not have internet connections, we have provided 4G wireless routers to them so that they can learn at home. The 4G wireless routers will provide paid-for internet access for six months from when they are delivered to the local authority or academy trust.

The Department has launched a service to provide children and young people free access to BT wifi hotspots until the end of December – this date will remain under review. 10,000 families will initially be able to access the scheme. This offer is currently being piloted and will be rolled out across England in the coming months. We are currently working with BT to expand this offer to allow more children to access the internet through their network of BT wifi hotspots.

We are also working with the major telecommunications companies to improve internet connectivity for disadvantaged and vulnerable families. For families who rely on a mobile internet connection, mobile network operators are working to provide access to free additional data while COVID-19 requires children to learn from home and more social care services are being delivered online.

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