Tory ministers have missed their target to get laptops to needy schoolchildren without computers at home.
Gavin Williamson had alleged 230,000 laptops and tablets were on schedule to be issued by June 30, but the Education Secretary’s pledge fell short, as official figures show 202,212 were delivered or dispatched by that date.
And despite schools closing three months ago, almost a quarter of the laptops or tablets – 47,922, were only issued in the last week and even then, students may still be waiting for tens of thousands of the devices.
Official figures only record when laptops are sent to councils or schools, not when they’re received or given to a child. The statistics also include laptops that are still in transition awaiting delivery.
Shadow Education Secretary Kate Green branded the figures greatly inadequate, and she said disadvantaged children have now spent almost a term without sufficient access to education.
And that ministers need to get the outstanding laptops to the families who need them immediately, and to provide proper support for children who will be catching up over the summer.
The government promised to give laptops to the most vulnerable and most disadvantaged children without access to IT at home.
Care leavers and children with social workers were first in line, followed by disadvantaged schoolchildren in Year 10.
The government stated the £100 million scheme would give laptops to schools permanently to improve childhood education but the unions have said even the drive to send out 230,000 of the devices is not enough.
The ASCL union has described the availability of the laptops as a national disgrace, warning they cover a small proportion of students without access to technology and they need to do better.
A Department for Education spokesperson said that they’ve given over 200,000 laptops and tablets for children who most need them and as promised they will continue to make sure all children are supported as schools prepare to reopen in September.
And that they’ve also started a £1 billion COVID 19 catch up fund to directly tackle the impact of lost teaching time as a consequence of the pandemic and that this will fund a £350 million national tutoring programme for disadvantaged children and young people and a £650 million universal premium which schools have the flexibility to choose how to spend in the best interest of their students.
But all this appears to be is rubbish and unfulfilled promises because the Tories never have targets, only aspirations – that way when the said numbers aren’t satisfied, as they never are, they can use the defence that it wasn’t a target but just something they wanted to aim for.
But we’re missing the point here, they can hand out as many laptops as they like but what’s the point without any internet?
The Corbyn’s manifesto was free internet access for all and it should be internet first and laptops after and the Tories need to be a wee bit nimble on their feet and time and again they seem to be incapable of organising emergency measures during a time of emergency.
It seems the government have got a deficit of laptops, yet millions of workers have been given laptops by their employers to work from home. It seems they can get it right, yet the government couldn’t organise a piss up in a brewery.
This is rhetoric for you – Boris Johnson is relishing the power but evades any responsibility that comes with it and everything these fakers say is pie in the sky and I don’t think that anything they’ve said has truly come to fruition.
This is yet another promise and another Tory deception and it won’t be long before they condemn the children.