Pupils: Disability Aids

Department for Education written question – answered on 7th September 2020.

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Photo of Margaret Greenwood Margaret Greenwood Shadow Minister (Education)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the number of pupils who require assistive technologies to access online material.

Photo of Margaret Greenwood Margaret Greenwood Shadow Minister (Education)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the number of organisations with the level of expertise required to specify assistive technologies for pupils who require such assistance.

Photo of Vicky Ford Vicky Ford The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

The department does not hold data in relation to the number of pupils needing assistive technology to access online material, or on the adequacy of the number of organisations with the level of expertise required to specify it for pupils who require such assistance.

The department trusts schools and local authorities to decide and provide the necessary equipment and assistive technology to meet the needs of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

The department has ordered over 200,000 devices and allocated these to local authorities and academy trusts based on estimates of the number of eligible children that do not have access to a device through other means, such as a private device or through school. The scheme is an injection of support, alongside many excellent local initiatives, and local authorities and schools are best placed to identify eligible children who do not already have access to a device.

Beyond the device and connectivity support, 40 teachers have come together to develop the brand-new Oak National Academy, launched at the start of the summer term. Oak Academy provides 180 video lessons for free each week, across a broad range of subjects, for every year group from reception through to year 10. Education resources are also available offline. Children are able to draw on support from the BBC which is broadcasting lessons on television, and may choose to access the many hard copy resources offers which have been produced by publishers across the country.

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