Laptops offered to school pupils to help them study at home during the COVID-19 pandemic

April 21, 2020 Chris Callaghan

Disadvantaged teenagers preparing for their GCSEs will be able to borrow laptops to enable them to study at home during the coronavirus pandemic.

Laptops or tablets will be provided to those 15 year-olds who do not have access to a computer in England.

The number of devices available or set budget to procure them has not yet been set and it will be up to local authorities in partnership with schools to establish who needs help with access.

There has also been an offer of 4G routers to help families connect to the internet.

The announcement comes after growing worry that despite a full curriculum being delivered via virtual classrooms, pupils from poorer families are not able to study at home and will be missing out.

The summer term officially began this week, although with no confirmation of schools re-opening, the term has started with parents opening home based classrooms to continue teaching children whilst schools remain closed. Students will be able to access 180 lessons per week online from reception to Year 10.

Online lessons have been prepared by teachers and educational organisations such as Sutton Trust and Teach First. Each lesson will be one hour long in a range of subjects, presented by a teacher with relevant worksheets available to download and print.

Contacted by the BBC, Paul Whiteman, leader of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), who will be speaking at the Schools & Academies Show London 2020, whilst in support of the laptop scheme says there are still “significant logistical challenges”

“Not least, the speed at which the these devices can be sourced and delivered.”

There is still no concrete date on when pupils will be returning to school since they officially closed on 20 March.

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