Coronavirus: Children

Department for Education written question – answered on 17th November 2020.

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Photo of Holly Mumby-Croft Holly Mumby-Croft Conservative, Scunthorpe

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to support clinically extremely vulnerable children learning from home.

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

The Department published expectations of the quality of remote education for schools on 2 July 2020 as part of the schools guidance for full opening, and for Further Education (FE) providers in August 2020 as part of the autumn term guidance. Additional information on these publications can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools and https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-further-education-provision/what-fe-colleges-and-providers-will-need-to-do-from-the-start-of-the-2020-autumn-term.

Where a pupil is unable to attend school because they are complying with clinical or public health advice, we expect schools to be able to immediately offer them access to remote education. This should be done in line with previous guidance and the Temporary Continuity Direction, which has been in effect since 22 October 2020.

On 1st October 2020, the Department announced a further remote education support package to help schools and FE colleges meet the remote education expectations set out in guidance and Direction. Many elements of the support package are already in place and more will be available over the coming months to schools and FE colleges. These can be accessed through the remote education service, available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/remote-education-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

The support package includes access to the right technology to deliver remote education, peer to peer training on how to use this effectively, and practical tools, good practice guidance and school-led webinars. This adds to existing support including the resources available from Oak National Academy, which provides video lessons across a broad range of subjects for every year group from Reception to Year 11. Oak National Academy will remain a free optional resource for the 2020-21 academic year, with further information available at: https://www.thenational.academy/.

As part of over £195 million invested to support remote education and access to online social care, the Department is making over 340,000 laptops and tablets available during the 2020 Autumn term to support disadvantaged children whose face-to-face education may be disrupted. Schools can order devices for critically extremely vulnerable children while they are not attending school by contacting covid.technology@education.gov.uk.

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