Remote Education: Broadband

Department for Education written question – answered on 23rd March 2021.

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Photo of Esther McVey Esther McVey Conservative, Tatton

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect of slow broadband speeds on the education of children living in rural areas.

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

Access to gigabit capable broadband for communities and schools is being addressed through programmes rolled out in partnership between the Department for Education and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. We are investing an unprecedented £5 billion of subsidy to support the deployment of gigabit broadband in the hardest to reach areas of the country. This coverage will also include even more rural schools that would otherwise not be reached without the Government taking action.

To support children and young people to connect with remote education, the Get Help with Technology programme has partnered with the UK’s leading mobile operators to provide free data to help over 30,000 disadvantaged children get online as well as delivering over 70,000 4G wireless routers for pupils without connection at home.

Where pupils continue to experience barriers to digital remote education, we expect schools and further education institutions to work to overcome these barriers. This could include distributing school or further education institution-owned laptops or supplementing digital provision with different forms of remote education such as printed resources or textbooks. This should be supplemented with other forms of communication to keep pupils on track or answer questions about work.

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