Free laptops to be made available for disadvantaged children self-isolating because of coronavirus

Home learning must be in place 'immediately' for pupils sent home to self-isolate, the Department for Education has said, which is providing thousands of free laptops as part of fresh plans to guarantee remote education.

Hundreds of Kent children have already been forced back indoors following positive coronavirus cases in class or year group bubbles just days into start of the new school year.

As school 'bubbles' are forced into isolation, the government says it has plans in place to ensure home learning continues
As school 'bubbles' are forced into isolation, the government says it has plans in place to ensure home learning continues

Pupils and staff identified as having had direct contact with an individual known to have the virus must remain at home for two weeks to be sure they too aren't contagious.

With fears that some pupils did little in the way of home learning during lockdown, the Department for Education is insisting plans are in place to make sure those pupils sent home do not miss out on any more learning, including the provision of free laptops to youngsters and teens most in need.

Guidance issued to head teachers relating to the full reopening of schools state: "Where a class, group or small number of pupils need to self-isolate, or there is a local lockdown requiring pupils to remain at home, we expect schools to have the capacity to offer immediate remote education."

The government is making 150,000 laptops available from this term
The government is making 150,000 laptops available from this term

The new rules go on to say that schools should have 'strong' plans in place by the end of this month as the pandemic moves towards the winter months.

It reads: "Schools are expected to consider how to continue to improve the quality of their existing offer and have a strong contingency plan in place for remote education provision by the end of September.

"This planning will be particularly important to support a scenario in which the logistical challenges of remote provision are greatest, for example where large numbers of pupils are required to remain at home."

Laptops and tablets are being made available to schools and local education authorities
Laptops and tablets are being made available to schools and local education authorities

A spokesman for the Department for Education said all children who are self isolating should continue to receive remote education from home as soon as their bubble closes - with further support available from this term to those who may struggle to get access to the equipment they need.

For disadvantaged children whose education is disrupted because of coronavirus, the government is making available 150,000 laptops and tablets and 47,000 4G routers - on top of the 220,000 allocated between May and July - to schools, trusts and local education authorities which it says 'will be best placed' to pass them on to children it knows who need them.

The equipment, specifically for children in Years 3 to 11 who do not already have access to a device, can be delivered to schools within two working days of an order being confirmed says the DfE. To learn more about the scheme please click here.

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