Disadvantaged children across England are to be given free laptops and 4G internet connections so they can take part in online school lessons from home.
The move from the Government comes as part of a push to make remote education more accessible for children while schools remain closed due to lockdown.
Who is eligible for free laptops?
Free laptops and 4G routers will be made available to those who do not already have access to one, and fall into one of the following groups:
- Children who receive support from a social worker
- Care leavers
- Disadvantaged children in year 10 due to sit their GCSEs next year
Schools and colleges will be able to keep their laptops and tablets once they have reopened, helping children to continue learning even after the lockdown is lifted.
The government is also offering some 4G routers to help families connect to the internet.
How do I get a free laptop or internet connection?
The laptops and 4G routers will be distributed by local authorities through education providers – predominantly schools and academy trusts.
There is no specified number of laptops available – or a set budget – and it will be the decision of schools or local authorities to decide who qualifies for a device.
If you are unsure whether or not you qualify, you should contact your school.
When will the laptops be distributed?
Local authorities were asked to distribute the devices as quickly as possible from Monday, April 20.
Will older children be given laptops?
Those in education who are aged between 16 and 19 and do not have a suitable device or connectivity, and whose family cannot afford these costs, can apply for support via the 16-19 Bursary Fund.
The decision on supplying devices will be made by education providers.
If you wish to check if you are eligible, you should contact your school or college for details.
What online learning is available?
The move to provide free laptops comes as the government launched a new online learning portal on Monday, April 20.
The Oak National Academy is a new enterprise that has been created by 40 teachers from some of the leading schools across England, and is funded by the Department of Education.
The Academy provides access to 180 video lessons per week, for every year group from Reception through to Year 10.
The lessons span a broad range of subjects, including maths, art and languages, and feature a corresponding quiz and worksheet.
Each lesson lasts for one hour and the portal will provide the equivalent of three hours of lessons per day for primary students, and four hours per day for secondary.
Oak National Academy joins a broad range of resources and support that are available for both schools and parents, which have been outlined on the government website.
The BBC also launched its own education package on Monday, April 20, across TV and online, called BBC Bitesize Daily.
The learning resource features a host of celebrities, including David Attenborough, Oti Mabuse and Danny Dyer, as well as lessons from 200 working teachers.
The education package provides three new lessons every week day, which include videos and activities, for primary, secondary and post-16 pupils.
Joe Wicks, also known as The Body Coach, launched a series of 30 minute fitness videos for children to do at home, called PE with Joe, in a bid to keep youngsters moving, while British Astronaut Tim Peake has launched a series of free learning resources for parents and children.
The astronomical-themed activities aim to offer an exciting and engaging way for children to learn about science and mathematics.