This announcement comes as schools are navigating the highs and lows of turning to remote learning, where difficulties have been emerging for students from a disadvantaged backgrounds. Today we have heard that disadvantaged children are set to receive laptops and tablets as part of the Department for Education's push towards higher accessibility levels across the education sector.
The Department for Education writes:
"Devices will be ordered for children in the most vital stages of their education, those who receive support from a social worker and care leavers. The government will also provide 4G routers to make sure disadvantaged secondary school pupils and care leavers can access the internet – where those families do not already have mobile or broadband internet in the household.
In addition, to support the hard work of schools in delivering remote education, the Oak National Academy is due to launch on Monday 20 April. This brand-new enterprise has been created by 40 teachers from some of the leading schools across England, backed by government grant funding. It will provide 180 video lessons each week, across a broad range of subjects from maths to art to languages, for every year group from Reception through to Year 10."
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said:
"I want to thank all the teachers and staff who are working so hard to ensure vulnerable children and those of critical workers are supported at this time. Schools will remain closed until the scientific advice changes, which is why we need to support the incredible work teachers are already doing to ensure children continue to receive the education they deserve and need. By providing young people with these laptops and tablets and enabling schools to access high quality support, we will enable all children to continue learning now and in the years to come. We hope this support will take some of the pressure off both parents and schools by providing more materials for them to use."
Furthermore, it has been announced that schools and colleges will be able to retain these laptops and tablets once they have reopened. This way, they will continue to play a vital role in enabling children to learn even after schools have reopened.
Oak Academy joins a wide range of support and resources available for teachers and parents, many of which are providing their software and resources for free. On Monday the 20th of April, the BBC education package is set to launch across TV and online.
While families are now staying at home to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, some children and young people may face increasing risks of neglect or abuse at home – or from strangers online, as their online internet usage increases. For this reason, the Government has made £1.6 million worth of funding available immediately for the NSPCC to expand and promote its national helpline.
At SCR Tracker we urge you to retain safeguarding as one of your highest priorities when coordinating and delivering online learning. We've published handy resources to help you including a checklist, an update on DBS checks, and temporary changes to the ID checking procedure.
If you have any safeguarding questions or comments about this article please contact us here.