UK Government Provides One Million Laptops To Low Income Families
COVID-19 United Kingdom

UK Government Provides One Million Laptops To Low Income Families

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Schools and councils have received over 560,000 laptops this year to support remote learning

Over one million devices will now reach schools, colleges and councils, helping ensure students have access to high-quality remote education if they need it, the Government has announced today.

Almost 70,000 pupils are also now confirmed to have enrolled in the National Tutoring Programme, as the government continues to step up work to support young people.

The UK Government is also confirming that amidst unprecedented global demand, over 560,000 devices were delivered to schools and councils in 2020. The further purchase of more than 440,000 devices means that over one million will now be provided to help schools and colleges throughout the pandemic – making the program one of the largest of its kind in the world.

UK Government Provides One Million Laptops To Low Income Families

The Johnson Government is now investing over £300 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 Program.

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, 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 program 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 purchase of more than 440,000 devices comes from a further £100 million being committed, bringing the total to over £300 million to support remote education.

Since schools began enrolling pupils into the National Tutoring Programme following its launch in November this year, over 62,000 pupils have enrolled in subsidised high-quality tutoring through the Education Endowment Foundation’s Tuition Partners.

The National Tutoring Program is expected to continue to ramp up over the spring term, reaching hundreds of thousands of pupils by the summer, ensuring those who have suffered the most from lost learning, including those in exam year groups, have the greatest opportunity to catch up.

188 Academic Mentors, recruited and trained by Teach First, have also started in schools serving disadvantaged communities across the country. This has benefited an estimated 7,000 pupils to date and over 500 additional mentors are set to join schools in January, with a further cohort starting in February.

The Department for Education has partnered with some of the UK’s leading mobile operators to provide free data to disadvantaged families, further supporting remote learning where it’s needed.

Where schools identify a child from a disadvantaged family without internet access at home, they can now request free, additional data through the DfE’s Get Help with Technology programme. Families will benefit from this additional data until July.

The level of additional data will vary by provider, but for example EE customers will receive an extra 20 gigabytes per month. Other providers include Three, Tesco Mobile, Smarty, Sky Mobile and Virgin Mobile.

The National Tutoring Programme has been extended to run for two years to allow more tutoring to be rolled out across the country and be more beneficial to the children and young people who need the most support to catch up.

The government is determined to ensure that tutoring is available to boost the progress of all students that need it, not just the most privileged.

Schools are offered blocks of 15 hours tutoring from Tuition Partners and schools are responsible for making decisions on which pupils receive tutoring support and how that tutoring is delivered to pupils. This can be small group or one-to-one tuition and either online or face-to-face.

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