Remote Education: Computer Viruses

Department for Education written question – answered on 12th February 2021.

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Photo of Tan Dhesi Tan Dhesi Shadow Minister (Transport)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what representations he has received on incidences of computers allocated to support online learning during the covid-19 outbreak being infected with malware.

Photo of Tan Dhesi Tan Dhesi Shadow Minister (Transport)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many laptops to support online learning during the covid-19 outbreak have been provided to school pupils in Slough.

Photo of Tan Dhesi Tan Dhesi Shadow Minister (Transport)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that children and young people in education have access to (a) a laptop and (b) broadband and WiFi in (i) Slough and (ii) England.

Photo of Tan Dhesi Tan Dhesi Shadow Minister (Transport)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to support children and young people who are home-schooled to access (a) a laptop and (b) broadband and WiFi in (i) Slough and (ii) England.

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

The Government is investing over £400 million to support access to remote education and online social care services, including securing 1.3 million laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children and young people. This significant injection of laptops and tablets is on top of an estimated 2.9 million already owned by schools before the start of the outbreak.

The laptops and tablets are to help support schools, academy trusts and local authorities to provide access to remote education and online social care. Schools, colleges, academy trusts and local authorities are responsible for distributing the laptops and tablets and are best placed to know which children and young people need access to a device.

The Department has partnered with the UK’s leading mobile operators to provide free data to help disadvantaged children get online, as well as delivering 4G wireless routers for pupils without connection at home to support online learning.

As of Monday 8 February 2021, over 986,000 laptops and tablets have been delivered to schools, trusts, local authorities and further education providers.

More information on the number of devices delivered to schools, trusts and local authorities, can be viewed here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/find-statistics/laptops-and-tablets-data.

The Department has been investigating an issue with malware that was found on a small number of the laptops provided to schools. In all known cases, the malware was detected and removed at the point schools first turned the devices on.

The Department takes online safety and security extremely seriously and any schools that have concerns about devices should contact the support desk at https://get-help-with-tech.education.gov.uk.

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