DfE misses free laptops target by nearly 30,000

Gavin Williamson had said the government was 'on schedule to distribute the full 230,000' laptops by the end of June

Amy Gibbons

Remote learning during Covid-19 crisis

The government has missed the education secretary's free laptops delivery target by nearly 30,000, new figures show.

On 9 June, Gavin Williamson said that more than 100,000 laptops had already been delivered to vulnerable and disadvantaged children, and the government was "on schedule to distribute the full 230,000" over the coming month.

On the same day, faced with claims the scheme was "delayed", Mr Williamson said: "We'd said that they would all be distributed by the end of June and we're on target to be able to do that."

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New figures released by the Department for Education (DfE) today show that, as of 30 June, 202,212 devices had been delivered or dispatched to local authorities or trusts.

This is 27,788 short of Mr Williamson's target.

The DfE has always said it aimed to deliver more than 200,000 laptops and tablets by the end of June.

In addition, the department has delivered or dispatched 47,416 4G wireless routers, to help boost internet access.

A DfE spokesperson said: "The government has been clear that no child should fall behind as a result of coronavirus.

"We have delivered over 200,000 laptops and tablets for the children who need them most, as promised, and will continue to make sure all children are supported as schools prepare to reopen in September.

"We have also launched a £1 billion Covid catch-up fund to directly tackle the impact of lost teaching time as a result of the pandemic.

"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 decide how to spend in the best interests of their pupils."

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Amy Gibbons

Amy Gibbons

Amy Gibbons is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @tweetsbyames

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