Ensuring every child receives the highest quality of education is crucial so young people can have the best start in life. As the pandemic has forced schools to close we must ensure that children still receive the highest quality of remote education.
To guarantee that children receive this quality of education the government has stepped up its efforts by providing millions of laptops and tablets to children across the UK. As of the 18th of December 1,357 laptops and tablets were provided to school children in Derbyshire. This has since increased. Today the government has announced it will provide an extra 300,000 laptops and tablets to disadvantaged children, taking the total across the UK to 1.3 million.
Data to be published today by the Department for Education will show 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 we are delivering more this week. Schools that are yet to order devices can still do so.
The additional 300,000 devices lifts 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 pandemic.
More than 54,000 4G routers have been delivered to schools and colleges in England to guarantee that every child has internet access.
Today’s announcements follow confirmation from Oak National Academy last week that major mobile operators Vodafone, 02, Three and EE have committed to working together to make access to the site free - and from BT, on Monday 11th January, 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.
Heather Wheeler MP for South Derbyshire said: “After the difficult decision was taken to close schools and colleges I welcome the governments commitment to ensure every child receives the highest quality of education.
“By ensuring they have access to devices and internet it will help guarantee this. The BBC has also put on some fantastic resources on the BBC and their new TV hours including BBC bitesize lessons are a great help.”
Commenting, Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson said: “The last thing any Education Secretary wants to do is close schools and this is not a decision that the government ever wanted to take. But the closing of schools for the majority of pupils does not mean the end of their education.”
“Schools and colleges are much better prepared to deliver online learning – with the delivery of a million devices well underway, data support and high-quality video lessons available via the Oak National Academy.”