Graham Stuart, MP has sought to ensure that schools in his constituency are adequately prepared to provide high-quality remote education.
His comments come following the news that England has entered a third national lockdown.
Schools have once again been asked to close their doors to all except vulnerable pupils and children of key workers. They have also been told that they are expected to provide between 3-5 hours of remote teaching per day.
The Government has invested over £400 million to support remote education. This has included funding for over a million laptops and other devices for those who don’t have them at home. It is one of the largest programmes of its kind in the world.
Last year, over 560,000 devices were delivered to schools and colleges across England, and 750,000 more have been purchased ready to be distributed to schools this year.
Government data indicates that schools in the East Riding had been given 1,255 laptops and tablets as of 22 December last year.
In addition, almost 60,000 4G routers have been delivered to schools and colleges and funding has also gone into the Oak National Academy, an online resource providing video lessons for pupils aged between 3-16 years old.
MP Liaising With Local Bodies Highlighting Support That Can Be Accessed
“The Government has made clear that support with laptops, tablets, dongles and data should be available to those families who need it, but I’m keen to ensure that children and parents aren’t missing out on this help because of a lack of awareness.
“Closing schools has been an absolute last resort, as we all know it has a huge impact on children’s education. So we need to make sure that those who need a bit of extra help to connect can get it and that they aren’t falling through the cracks through no fault of their own.
“That’s my goal first and foremost. That’s why I’ve been liaising with the council to ensure that they’re checking in on schools and vulnerable pupils, and it’s why I’ve written to schools to ensure that they’re aware of the support which is available and that they’re contacting parents to make them aware of this.”
Government Pledge To Put Technology In Place For Disadvantaged Families
Primary school pupils from struggling households were found to be more likely to find home learning harder. This was as a result of the environment within the home.
Reasons given include noise levels (59% to 50%), lack of space (45% to 22%), lack of technology (45% to 26%) and lack of internet (35% to 16%). The government has announced an extra 300,000 devices will be made available.
The Government has also formed partnerships with leading mobile operators. These include EE, O2, Three and Vodafone through its ‘Get Help with Technology’ programme.
This is to provide free mobile data to parents without internet access at home. This is so that their children aren’t unfairly disadvantaged by being out of school.
The MP added;
“After speaking with council officials, I’m reassured to know they are confident that no child is getting left behind because of coronavirus.
“Their school improvement team means that each school has a dedicated point of contact, while they have also established a ‘Covid hotline’ to address headteachers’ concerns.”