THE UK Government announces on Sunday, December 20, that one million laptops and tablets are being made available for disadvantaged children and young people.
The Government confirmed that, amidst unprecedented global demand, over 560,000 devices were delivered to schools and councils in 2020 and the further purchase of more than 440,000 devices now means that over one million will now be provided to help schools and colleges throughout the pandemic – making the programme one of the largest of its kind in the world.
The Government is now investing over £300 million (€330,960 million) to support remote education and social care, including providing devices and internet access to pupils who need it most. This is alongside work to help young people catch up through the National Tutoring Programme.
High-quality tutoring of the kind offered by the programme has been proven to help young people catch up by as much as 3-5 months lost learning, from just one term’s worth of tutoring.
The Government has been clear that keeping education open for all is a national priority. Schools and colleges have already put extensive protective measures in place that are helping reduce the risk of the virus being transmitted.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “We know how important it is for children to be in school, but it’s also vital that where public health advice means they can’t be, we have all-encompassing measures in place to prevent them falling behind.
“That’s why scaling up our devices scheme, alongside our tutoring offer to reach as many children and young people as possible, is so important.
“Providing one million devices is a hugely significant achievement, not only in the context of supporting children through the pandemic, but an investment in tech for our schools, colleges and children for years to come.”
From January 2021, schools will start being invited to order devices even if they have not had to send pupils home to self-isolate.
Devices are currently delivered within two working days of orders being placed and that will remain the case going into the first week of January. Schools will be kept up to date on delivery times should they be impacted by the level of demand.
The programme will also be extended to include 16 to 19-year-olds in schools and further education, many of whom will be preparing for exams.
The vast majority of devices will be delivered to schools and colleges by Easter.
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