Written Questions are submitted by MPs or Lords to receive information from a Department.
|11 Sep 2020, 4:56 p.m.||Mary Kelly Foy (Labour - City of Durham)||Mary Kelly Foy (Labour - City of Durham)|
Question to the Department for Education:
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Government has taken to improve online access for disadvantaged pupils in the event of online teaching resuming during the covid-19 outbreak in the 2020-21 academic year.
Answered by Nick Gibb - Minister of State (Education)
The Department has already delivered over 220,000 laptops and tablets to children who would not otherwise have access, as part of over £100 million invested to support remote education and access to online social care.
The Department is now supplementing this support by making an initial 150,000 additional devices available in the event that face to face schooling becomes disrupted as a result of local COVID-19 restrictions. This scheme will enable schools to support disadvantaged children in Year 3 to Year 11 who do not have their own devices. Schools will also be able to order devices for disadvantaged children across all year groups who are shielding as a result of official advice, all year groups who attend hospital schools and those completing their Key Stage 4 at a further education college.
As well as laptops and tablets, the Department has provided over 50,000 4G wireless routers to support disadvantaged children with internet connectivity. These routers come with free data for the autumn term and will allow local authorities and academy trusts to support children who may have their education and care disrupted because of official COVID-19 restrictions or disruption to face to face contact. In partnership with BT, the Department has also launched a service to provide children and young people free access to BT wifi hotspots.
The Department is also working with the major telecommunications companies to improve internet connectivity for disadvantaged and vulnerable families who rely on a mobile internet connection. We are piloting an approach where mobile network operators are providing temporary access to free additional data offering families more flexibility to access the resources that they need the most.