Students to be given free laptops and broadband as schools remain shut over coronavirus

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The move is part of a series of resources being made accesible for children as they continue to study while schools are shut. A new online academy is one of the measures being introduced to try to facilitate online learning.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said there is no set date for re-opening schools in England.

Mr Williamson apologised to students for the disruption to their studies and added that there are no plans for schools across England to re-open their doors over the summer holidays.

Mr Williamson added that 4G routers will be provided to disadvantaged secondary school pupils and care leavers can access the internet.

The Oak National Academy was created in less than 14 days by forty scholars from leading schools in England.

Students to be given free laptops and broadband as schools remain shut over coronavirus

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said there is no set date for reopening schools (Image: Getty)

The initiative will launch on Monday.

Subjects like maths, arts and languages will be explained in 180 video lessons per week for children in educational levels ranging from reception to Year 10.

The Government said it would also make funding of £1.6 million available immediately for the NSPCC to boost its national helpline for adults.

Peter Wanless, chief executive of the NSPCC, said: “The NSPCC Helpline is a crucial cog in the child protection system, last year we responded to almost 73,000 contacts from people with concerns about a child’s welfare.

READ MORE: Schools reopening UK: When will schools reopen?

Students to be given free laptops and broadband as schools remain shut over coronavirus

Mr Williamson apologised to students for the disruption to their studies (Image: Getty)

“At a time when there are increased risks of harm to vulnerable children but teachers and social workers’ access to them is more limited, we must all play our part in recognising the signs of abuse and neglect and be sure to report any concerns.”

Becca Lyon, Save the Children’s head of child poverty, said: “Additional online support for all children to continue their learning will help many, but those without access to the internet will still be missing out.

“Extending router availability to the families of younger children in poverty will ensure children continue to learn at a critical point in their development.”

A study conducted by the Sutton Trust found over half of students in independent schools take part in online lessons daily, two and a half times as often as their state school counterparts.

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Students to be given free laptops and broadband as schools remain shut over coronavirus

UK coronavirus map live (Image: Getty)

Sutton Trust founder and chairman, Sir Peter Lampl, said: “The widening of the attainment gap over these next few months threatens to have negative implications for years to come.

“It is crucial we do all we can to address inequalities through high quality tuition and access to technology.”

Mr Williamson told the daily Downing Street press briefing on Sunday that five tests must be conducted before English schools can re-open.

“People are anxious to know when we’re going to relax restrictions, when schools are likely to be fully back and open again,” he said.

Students to be given free laptops and broadband as schools remain shut over coronavirus

Subjects like maths, arts and languages will be explained in 180 video lessons per week (Image: Getty)

“Of course, I want nothing more than to see schools back, get them back to normal, make sure the children are sat around, learning, and experiencing the joy of being at school.

“But I can’t give you a date. Because before we do, we need to meet five tests.”

The tests include protecting the NHS’s ability to cope, observing a substantial decline in death and infection rates.

Mr Williamson also said that it must also be known that the re-opening will not ignite a second wave of infections.

He added: “There are currently no plans to have schools open over the summer period and we haven’t been working on plans to have them open over the summer period.”


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