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More than 200,000 free laptops given to children in England

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A total of 202,000 free laptops and tablets have been distributed to vulnerable and disadvantaged children in England as at the end of June, the government confirms.

In April the government announced that children in the most vital stages of their education (preparing for exams in Year 10), or those who receive support from a social worker or are a care leaver would be eligible for free laptops as part of a bid to push remote education during the coronavirus outbreak.

Where these groups were also without an internet connection, the government confirmed it would provide 4G routers.

Statistics from the department for education reveal it distributed over 202,000 laptops and tablets as at the end of June and over 47,000 4G wireless routers to local authorities and academy trusts to allocate to children.

The figures come after Layla Moran MP asked the secretary of state for education: “How many laptops have been distributed to children learning from home in each local authority; and what the average time taken was to distribute those laptops”.

The education minister, Nick Gibb, answered: “The department has delivered pink laptops, tablets and 4G wireless routers to local authorities and academy trusts based on the department’s estimates of the number of eligible children that do not have access to a device. Local authorities and academy trusts are best placed to identify children and young people who need devices and prioritise their needs.

“It is taking, on average, 1.3 days from receipt of an order to the devices being dispatched to a local authority or academy trust.”

Gibb added that the department will be publishing data on devices delivered to each local authority and academy trust shortly.

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