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Free laptops for children in England

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Vulnerable and disadvantaged children will receive laptops and tablets as part of a bid to push remote education during the coronavirus outbreak.

Children in the most vital stages of their education (preparing for exams in Year 10), those who receive support from a social worker and care leavers (those aged 14+ who have been in care at some point) will be able to receive the devices, the education secretary announced.

Devices will be allocated to local authorities and organisations overseeing schools as they will be best placed to judge which children will benefit. Many will be eligible for Free School Meals.

The government is working to make devices ready as soon as possible and it will also provide 4G routers to make sure disadvantaged secondary school pupils and care leavers can access the internet, particularly where they don’t already have mobile or broadband internet at home.

Further, major telecoms providers will also provide temporary data charge exemptions.

Devices will be fitted with an e-safety package that schools can use to restrict access as required.

It comes as the Oak National Academy launches to provide 180 video lessons each week, covering maths, art, languages and more for each year group from reception to year 10.

Education secretary, Gavin Williamson, said: “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.

“Schools and colleges will be able to keep their laptops and tablets once they have reopened. This means that they will play a crucial role in enabling children to learn while schools and colleges are closed, and will also continue helping children learn in the future.”

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