Despite assurances from education ministers that all schools in my constituency have received all the laptops and tablets that they were promised to enable children to access online learning last year, the Secretary of state has confirmed that only 750,000 devices will have been delivered by the end of next week. Ministers have previously said a million would be delivered thoughout England and only 560,000 have been delivered so far, so that is only another 190,000 for the entire country even though all schools are now closed. Recently, headteachers in Garston and Halewood told me that they do not have enough devices locally to enable all children without devices to access online learning. Furthermore there are 1.8million children on free school meals so only ordering 1 million devices seems to be too few.
Many children in my constituency don’t have affordable broadband at home but Ministers confirmed to me yesterday that only 54,000 4G wireless routers have been handed out across the whole of England. This is an entirely inadequate number to enable affordable home learning for many families who cannot afford the 4G data needed to access home learning every day, so yet again poorer and disadvantaged children, including many in my Constituency will be the most educationally disadvantaged by the lockdown.
I’m backing Labour’s plan to help students access online education. I would encourage everyone to sign the petition calling on the Government to get every child online and every school supported to deliver digital excellence. You can sign the petition here.