Responding to Education Secretary Gavin Williamson’s announcement
about a new package to support online learning during the coronavirus emergency, Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:
“We welcome the package to support online learning for children who are at home during the coronavirus emergency, and in particular the plan to provide free laptops and tablets to vulnerable and disadvantaged young people.
“Schools have already been doing a fantastic job in supporting children who do not have access to these devices by providing resources such as learning packs which they can use at home. But these young people are currently unable to access the wealth of resources which are accessible online and the provision of laptops and tablets is crucial in supporting them through this difficult period.
“We note that the planned roll-out for disadvantaged pupils applies only to those in Year 10. The government is right to identify this as a key group because they are in the midst of studying for GCSEs. However, we hope that it will prove possible to widen this scheme to other disadvantaged youngsters who do not have these devices.
“It is absolutely vital that we do everything possible to support these young people because they are likely to suffer the greatest detrimental impact to their education during the school shutdown.”