To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent progress his Department has made on ensuring that all pupils learning at home as a result of self-isolation or class closures have access to (a) digital devices and (b) adequate broadband provision.
As part of over £195 million invested to support access to remote education and online social care, we are making over 340,000 additional laptops and tablets available this term to support disadvantaged children in Years 3 to 11 whose face to face education may be disrupted. Since September, over 100,000 of these have already been delivered to schools.
This supplements over 220,000 laptops and tablets, which have already been delivered during the summer term. This represents an injection of over half a million devices by the end of the year.
We have also distributed over 51,000 4G wireless routers, which are provided with free data for the rest of the 2020/21 academic year. Routers can be distributed by the local authorities, academy trusts and schools who own them to any disadvantaged children and young people.
In partnership with mobile network operators, we are providing access to free additional data for the academic year, offering families flexibility to access the resources that they need the most.
Schools can request free mobile data uplifts for families who lack sufficient internet access, via the Get Help with Technology service, when they experience disruption to face to face education or for clinically extremely vulnerable children.