700 laptops issued to vulnerable South Tyneside children locked out of learning during pandemic

More than 800 devices have been secured to help South Tyneside’s most vulnerable children with their education since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
Even in the digital age, not everyone has access to a computer or the internet at homeEven in the digital age, not everyone has access to a computer or the internet at home
Even in the digital age, not everyone has access to a computer or the internet at home

September 2020 marked the first time in months most pupils in the borough had seen the inside of a classroom, following the start of the COVID-19 outbreak.

While teachers did their best over lockdown to keep lessons and education going, many youngsters faced challenges due to lack of personal computers or internet access.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

But thanks to a Government scheme 130 WiFi dongles and 700 laptops and tablets were provided to borough families.

Cllr Moira Smith, South Tyneside Council’s cabinet member for Children, Young People and Families, said: “We applied to the government for those during lockdown.

It was for children who did not have access to them at home and so couldn’t do all the home learning that other children were doing.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“We asked the schools to give numbers for children who might need them, we got them, sorted them out and handed them to the schools, who handed them to the children.

“We wanted to make sure every child in the borough had access to home learning.”

Cllr Smith was speaking at a meeting of the borough council’s People Select Committee, which was held remotely and broadcast via YouTube.

Schools can apply for equipment through the scheme for children aged up to 16 and whose face to face education has been ‘disrupted’ by the pandemic, such as those who have been advised to shield, and who does not have access to any other appropriate technology.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Between May and July 2020, the Department for Education provided devices to councils and academy trusts for children, families and young adults most in need.

For the 2020 to 2021 academic year, more laptops and tablets have been made available for disadvantaged children in certain year groups who are affected by disruption to face-to-face education at their school, or have been advised to shield because they are clinically extremely vulnerable.

The guidance on getting laptops and tablets for children who cannot attend school due to coronavirus (COVID-19) at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/get-laptops-and-tablets-for-children-who-cannot-attend-school-due-to-coronavirus-covid-19 provides information for schools, trusts and local authorities on how to apply.

A message from the editor

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our advertisers - and consequently the revenue we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription.

Subscribe to the Shields Gazette website and enjoy unlimited access to local news and information online and on our app. With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit https://www.shieldsgazette.com/subscriptions to sign up.

You can subscribe to the newspaper with 20% off here: https://www.localsubsplus.co.uk/.

Thank you.