Education for ALL - Laptops for ALL during Covid

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Computers and Internet for ALL during Lockdown

Last year in May 2020, the Secretary of State for Education (Gavin Williamson) announced laptops and 4G routers for vulnerable or disadvantaged learners. So far this isn’t enough as shown by a study from Teach First showing “84% of schools with the poorest children lack devices to ensure their pupils can study at home if self-isolating”.

The Government has since announced that the laptop scheme be extended last term to provide more laptops to schools for children in years 3 to 11 whose education is disrupted. The announcement of the extension of the scheme was very good to see, along with the widening of eligibility beyond year 10 and children with social workers. But the Department for Education is initially making just 150,000 additional laptops available. This is insufficient. If in the recent Leicester lockdown the Department had decided to provide 70% of all children on free school meals with a laptop to help them continue to learn from home (excluding the year 10s already given one), it would have needed over 7,300 laptops to do so. If it happened in Birmingham, over 40,000 laptops would be needed.

Any child who is not allowed to attend school (which is currently the case now in January 2021) and doesn’t have sufficient digital access at home must be given the equipment they need to continue their education. It is critical that more laptops are ordered. As the initial lockdown showed, the challenges of the global supply chain for devices mean that orders take time to be fulfilled. Now is the time to learn lessons from the initial stages of lockdown and get ahead.

Please SIGN this urgent petition which urges the government to provide enough laptops and 4G routers to every disadvantaged student, who currently doesn’t have access to them, to enable every student to have a stable education throughout Covid-19 and allow every child to reach their full potential.

If we don't act now, the ramifications of this will be seen in future years as the inequality and attainment gap between advantaged and disadvantaged students widens. We can prevent this getting worse now by:-

1. Providing a laptop for each vulnerable and underprivileged student to enable them to continue their education is schools have to close or they are required to self-isolate. 

2. Ensuring 4G connection for each of these students to enable them access to education, teachers and keyworkers

By providing these, all students will have an education which is their right.

By students having access to their education they're less likely to suffer the anxiety, stress and depression which is why this is so important to Julian Campbell Foundation.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Coronavirus UK: The disparities in education standards during the COVID-19 lockdown https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7G6-ol1GsM

Coronavirus Lockdown: Laptops offered for online lessons at home https://www.bbc.com/news/education-52341596

Covid-19 and Home-schooling: the crisis has exacebated and highlighted existing existing educational inequalities https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/home-schooling-covid-19/

Covid-19 and Social Mobility; Teacher Tapp's Survey of teachers in the UK April 2020  https://www.suttontrust.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/COVID-19-Impact-Brief-School-Shutdown.pdf

Disadvantaged pupils are given laptops to study online while schools are closed https://www.theguardian.com/education/2020/apr/19/disadvantaged-pupils-are-given-laptops-to-study-online-while-schools-are-closed

TeachFirst survey: https://www.teachfirst.org.uk/sites/default/files/2020-11/Teacher%20Tapp%20Survey%20Data%20-%20Digital%20Divide%20-%20Teach%20First.pdf