Government announces free laptops and 4G broadband for disadvantaged children

The government has announced that disadvantaged children will be given a free laptop or tablet and 4G mobile broadband to assist in their home education during the coronavirus crisis.

With concerns that some children are having their education impacted by digital exclusion during the lockdown, the government is pushing to make remote education more accessible to those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

According to the government’s announcement, care leavers, children with social worker support and year 10 pupils with GCSE exams next year will be among those eligible to receive devices, if they do not already own one.

The government will also provide 4G routers to “disadvantaged secondary school pupils and care leavers” to enable them to access the internet, if they do not already have a router. The government says that telecoms providers “will make it easier for families to access selected educational resources by temporarily exempting these sites from data charges.”

The Department of Education is also supporting free online lessons from primary and secondary school pupils. It has funded the Oak National Academy, which will launch this week, providing 180 video lessons per week across a range of subjects, from reception to GCSE level.

UK Education Secretary Gavin Williamson MP said: “I want to thank all the teachers and staff who are working so hard to ensure vulnerable children and those of critical workers are supported at this time.”

“Schools will remain closed until the scientific advice changes, which is why we need to support the incredible work teachers are already doing to ensure children continue to receive the education they deserve and need.”

By providing young people with these laptops and tablets and enabling schools to access high quality support, we will enable all children to continue learning now and in the years to come. We hope this support will take some of the pressure off both parents and schools by providing more materials for them to use.”

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