Children: Computers

Department for Education written question – answered on 8th October 2020.

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Photo of Damian Green Damian Green Conservative, Ashford

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to extend the duration of the scheme for providing computers at home for disadvantaged children; and if he will make a statement.

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

The Department has delivered over 220,000 laptops and tablets, and over 50,000 4G wireless routers, to children who would not have otherwise had online access, as part of over £100 million invested to support remote education and access to online social care.

The laptops and tablets were an injection of support to help local authorities and academy trusts to provide access to education and social care during the COVID-19 restriction period. Laptops and tablets are owned by the local authority, academy trust or school, who can choose to lend unused laptops and tablets to children and young people who need them most, and who may face disruption to face-to-face education in the event of future local COVID-19 restrictions.

The Department is now supplementing this support by making available 250,000 additional laptops and tablets in the event that face-to-face schooling is disrupted as a result of local COVID-19 restrictions and children become reliant on remote education. This scheme is intended to enable schools to support disadvantaged children in years 3 to 11 who cannot afford their own laptops and tablets. Schools will also be able to order laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children across all year groups who are shielding as a result of official or medical advice, all year groups who attend hospital schools, and those completing their Key Stage 4 at a further education college.

In the event that face-to-face education is disrupted, we know that it is critical to get schools the support that they need in the shortest timeframe. The majority of laptops and tablets ordered through this scheme will be delivered within two working days, subject to availability.

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