Over 3,500 laptops delivered to South Tyneside kids
More than 3,500 laptops and tablets have been delivered to disadvantaged children in South Tyneside to help combat disruption to their education during the pandemic.
Department for Education data shows 3,527 machines had been sent by the the Government to the borough’s schools by April 8 – but a teaching union says progress has been "painfully slow", and pupils who needed them during the lockdown have now been back at school for over a month.
Nationally, 99.7% of the 1.3 million laptops and tablets promised by the Government as part of the Get Help with Technology scheme have been distributed.
Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “The Government has been promising for months that it would deliver 1.3 million laptops to schools and we are now tantalisingly close to seeing that target achieved.
“We do not underestimate the scale of the Government’s logistical operation but the truth is they were slow to react and progress since has been painfully slow."
Barnardo's said that, while action had been taken to provide technology to some of the poorest pupils, there were families still struggling without access to online services.
Javed Khan, the charity's chief executive, said: "We worked with Vodafone to deliver laptops and data bundles and now we would urge the Government to establish a clear strategy to eliminate digital poverty in the very near future.”
The DfE said the number of laptops and tablets allocated for schools was decided by calculating how many children are eligible for free school meals and that schools can request additional devices.