Skip to main content

Home Learning: Covid-19

Volume 682: debated on Monday 12 October 2020

What estimate he has made of the number of school children that did not have access to (a) a laptop or (b) another device to facilitate home learning when schools were closed during the covid-19 lockdown. (907347)

As part of £160 million invested to support remote education, more than 220,000 laptops and tablets have already been delivered, with 40,000 routers additional to that. We are now supplementing this support by making available 250,000 additional devices in the event that face-to-face schooling is disrupted. This represents an injection of nearly half a million laptops and tablets for those most in need.

But from 22 October schools will be required to provide remote education to those pupils isolating because of coronavirus. Ofcom estimates that up to 1.78 million children in the UK have no access to a laptop, desktop or tablet at home, and this policy will fail them. With less than two weeks until the changes, how can the education of those children be guaranteed? Is it not time to ensure that every child entitled to a free school meal is provided with internet access and an adequate device at home?

The hon. Lady will probably be familiar with our policy and the fact that we have set up support for schools that will have to provide remote education for children, whereby we are making sure that those children from the most disadvantaged backgrounds are properly supported by this programme and investment of half a million laptops.