Remote Education

Department for Education written question – answered on 4th November 2021.

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Photo of Daisy Cooper Daisy Cooper Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Education)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, for what reason his Department’s Get help with remote education guidance does not include (a) UK companies and (b) challengers to the largest technology companies.

Photo of Robin Walker Robin Walker The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, Minister of State (Education)

The department has distributed over 1.35 million laptops and tablets to disadvantaged pupils since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak. On 22 October 2021, a further rollout of an additional 500,000 devices was announced. Our published guidance relates to devices delivered to schools as part of this programme and is intended to support users in making best use of devices they have received.

When purchasing devices, the department took account of the needs of schools and other users, availability and the need to achieve value for money. As a result, we provided devices from a range of different manufacturers. This has included large technology companies including Apple, Microsoft, Acer, Lenovo, Samsung, Dell, and HP and Tactus, a leading UK firm.

The department also has also offered, since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, support to schools to set digital education platforms offered by Microsoft and Google. Schools have told us that these platforms, which are free to use, meet their needs by offering real time communication and collaboration and education specific tools that can assist teachers, pupils and students to learn remotely. Schools can decide whether to make use of these resources or those provided by other organisations.

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