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Government distributes further 300,000 devices for disadvantaged children

A further 300,000 laptops and tablets have been distributed by the government to enable disadvantaged children and young people to learn at home.

The total number of laptops and tablets that have now been distributed under the Get Help with Technology Programme is 1.3 million.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “I know just how difficult the past year has been for parents and teachers, now more so than ever. I want nothing more than for every child to be in the classroom with their friends and teachers, but with that not possible we are doing everything in our power to support schools with high-quality remote education.

“These additional devices, on top of the 100,000 delivered last week, add to the significant support we are making available to help schools deliver high-quality online learning, as we know they have been doing.

“Our guidance reflects the increased number of hours pupils should benefit from, and schools publishing their plans lets parents know that their children are not missing out on the great education they deserve,” he added.

Data published by the Department for Education shows that over 700,000 laptops and tablets have been delivered to schools to date. Over 100,000 were delivered last week alone and by the end of the week three quarters of a million will have been delivered to schools and local authorities. The vast majority of secondary schools have already received devices and more are set to be delivered this week. Schools that are yet to order devices can still do so.

The 300,000 devices raises government investment by another £100 million, meaning over £400 million will have been invested in supporting disadvantaged children and young people who need the most help with access to technology through the COVID-19 pandemic.

This devices programme is alongside the government’s work with the UK’s leading mobile network operators, enabling schools to request free uplifts in data for disadvantaged families.

A remote education framework has also been published by the government to support schools and colleges with delivering education for pupils who are learning from home. The frameworks will help them to identify the strengths and areas for improvement in the lessons and teaching they provide remotely, and points towards resources that can help them improve where needed.

The announcement comes after the Oak National Academy revealed last week that major mobile operators Vodafone, 02, Three and EE have committed to working together to make access to the website free. BT announced this week that BT and EE customers will be able to access BBC Bitesize resources for free from the end of January. The BBC has also committed to providing a vast array of educational content across its channels, providing even more support for home learning.



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