Laptops shortage 'still not fully resolved', warn heads

School leaders 'not convinced' the government 'fully understands' demand for devices and connectivity
19th January 2021, 1:35pm
Amy Gibbons

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Laptops shortage 'still not fully resolved', warn heads

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archived/laptops-shortage-still-not-fully-resolved-warn-heads
Coronavirus: School Leaders Say They Have Been 'frustrated' At The Slow Progress In Providing Laptops To Disadvantaged Pupils

Headteachers have expressed their "frustration" that the laptops shortage among disadvantaged pupils "has still not been fully resolved" one year into the Covid crisis.

Statistics released today by the Department for Education show that the government surpassed its target of delivering 750,000 laptops and tablets to schools and local authorities by the end of last week.

However, the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) has said it is still "not convinced" that the government "fully understands the need that exists both in terms of devices and connectivity".

As of 8pm on Sunday 17 January, the DfE had delivered or dispatched 801,524 devices to local authorities, academy trusts, schools and colleges.

Coronavirus: Government 'slow to get to grips with laptop shortage'

Geoff Barton, ASCL general secretary, said: "Another set of government statistics shows the number of laptops and tablets delivered to schools. While we are very pleased with the progress that is now being made on this issue, the frustration is that we are nearly a year into the crisis, and deep into a second period of restricted school opening, and it has still not been fully resolved.

"Even now, we are not convinced that the government fully understands the need that exists both in terms of devices and connectivity. It did not get to grips with this issue early enough, and it has been playing catch-up ever since."

Education secretary Gavin Williamson said: "I know that teachers, school staff and parents have continued to work collaboratively and immensely hard since the start of this term to help children to learn at home and we know it is absolutely vital that we get devices out to children who need them the most.

"We are committed to delivering those devices to support both schools and families with remote learning and I'm proud to see us pass over 800,000 devices issued to schools and councils through the pandemic, with nearly 240,000 of those issued since schools closed to most pupils this month."

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