Computers and Education: Coronavirus

Department for Education written question – answered on 3rd August 2020.

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Photo of Lord Watson of Invergowrie Lord Watson of Invergowrie Shadow Spokesperson (Education)

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many laptops each (1) local authority, and (2) multi-academy trust has received since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic; and how many vulnerable pupils are educated by each (a) local authority, and (b) multi-academy trust, in England.

Photo of Baroness Berridge Baroness Berridge Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade) (Minister for Women), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

The government has provided 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, the government has provided 4G wireless routers.

The department has delivered laptops, tablets and 4G wireless routers to local authorities and academy trusts based on the department’s estimates of the number of eligible children that do not have access to a device. Local authorities and academy trusts are best placed to identify children and young people who need devices and prioritise their needs.

The department has published data on devices delivered through the programme here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/laptops-tablets-and-4g-wireless-routers-progress-data. The department will be publishing a breakdown of data on devices delivered to each local authority and academy trust in future.

The closest matching available data on pupil attendance, including the attendance of vulnerable children, in educational establishments in England since 23 March was published on Tuesday 21 July at the following link and covers data up to Friday 17 July:

https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/attendance-in-education-and-early-years-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

The data is collected from individual education establishments and the published figures include estimates for non-response. Equivalent estimates have not been made at lower level geographies.

While the department is committed to welcoming all children back to school from September we recognise that there will be an ongoing role for remote education in the event a school is required to close temporarily. Schools are being asked to make preparations for this eventuality. We are reviewing the need to provide further support where this occurs.

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