Although the vast majority of children are back in the classroom, we have made 250,000 laptops and tablets available in the event that face-to-face education is disrupted, building on more than 220,000 already delivered to those most in need. We have also made resources available to schools to deliver high-quality online education, alongside the Government-funded Oak National Academy, which is providing video lessons across a broad range of subjects.
It is vital that students have a spring in their step and that they have access to high-quality remote education, so we have invested more than £160 million in connectivity, devices and support—including more than 980 laptops and tablets to Bolton Council—alongside additional devices delivered to academy trusts. We are now making available 250,000 more devices nationwide in the event of further disruption. My hon. Friend will be pleased to know that Bolton schools and academies have already received more than £1 million in their first catch-up premium payment.
Covid-19 has had a detrimental effect on some of the most underprivileged children in our society. My right hon. Friend will remember a Westminster Hall debate in September 2016 on this issue. A white working-class boy—an example who represents a substantial proportion of pupil numbers in Lincoln—is 10% less likely to participate in higher education than any other ethnic group or gender. What is my right hon. Friend doing, and what has he done, to ensure that we close this gap and that the ongoing pandemic does not make the situation worse?
I do remember that important debate that my hon. Friend secured. I share his determination to see the academic attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils—including white working-class boys—and others closed. That determination has been at the core of all our education reforms since 2010, particularly in respect of the focus on phonics in the teaching of reading, the evidence-based approach to the teaching of maths, and a more knowledge-based curriculum. Since 2011, the attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and others has narrowed by 13% at key stage 2 and by 9% at key stage 4. The £1 billion catch-up premium, with £350 million specifically targeted towards disadvantaged students, is designed to address the widening attainment gaps caused by measures taken to tackle the covid pandemic.