UK (Sky News)

Coronavirus: Free laptops for disadvantaged pupils during lockdown

By August 1, 2020 5 Comments

Free laptops and tablets will be offered to children from disadvantaged backgrounds across England to help them study at home during lockdown.

With schools closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, the equipment will make learning from home more achievable for those kids who are most in need.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said 4G routers will also be given to families who don’t already have mobile or broadband internet.

A laptop computer
Image:Schools will remain closed until scientific advice changes

Young people will be eligible for the devices if they don’t already have one and either have a social worker or are care leavers, or are disadvantaged children in year 10, ahead of GCSEs next year.

Once schools reopen, schools and colleges will be able to keep the equipment, according to the Department for Education.

In another move to make remote learning more accessible, a new national online academy providing 180 online lessons per week is also being launched on Monday.

The Oak National Academy has been created by 40 teachers from some of the UK’s top schools in just two weeks.

Virtual classes will cover a broad range of subjects including maths, arts and languages for children ranging in age from reception to Year 10.

The government has said schools will remain shut until the scientific advice around COVID-19 changes.

Mr Williamson said: “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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The government said it would also make funding of £1.6m available immediately for the NSPCC to expand and promote its national helpline for adults.

The charity’s chief executive Peter Wanless welcomed the support, but highlighted the need for people to be on the lookout for signs of child abuse and neglect during lockdown.

Mr Wanless said: “The NSPCC helpline is a crucial cog in the child protection system and this funding will enable us to increase awareness of our team of experts across the country and to expand their capability to provide a safe and confidential space for adults concerned about children during the coronavirus crisis.”

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