Pupils ‘can’t hear or see lessons’ on DfE laptops

Reports suggest laptops have arrived with no sound driver installed, causing access issues for pupils learning from home

Amy Gibbons

Remote learning during Covid-19 crisis

Headteachers have reported that their pupils “can neither hear nor see their remote lessons” owing to issues with laptops provided by the government.

Reports on social media suggest that some devices supplied by the Department for Education (DfE) have arrived with no sound driver installed, causing access issues for pupils learning from home.

One headteacher posted on Twitter: “Our DfE laptops arrived last week and we were very excited to give them out....today we discovered they have no sound driver and ch [sic] can neither hear or see their remote lessons. Super”.


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A vice-principal replied: “Same for us. A batch doesn’t have the sound driver installed. Our IT team have been working like crazy to get them all fixed and updated”.

And responding to the headteacher who raised the issue, Mark Silky said: “As an IT tech, can confirm. One of the worst devices we've ever had to set up...”

Sue, a special educational needs and disability coordinator, also replied: “Snap! Our technicians said that they’re poor spec and probably won’t be good functionality when trying to access the network.”

Julie McCulloch, director of policy at the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “We are concerned to hear some reports on social media of problems with government-provided laptops that have recently arrived at schools.

“Anecdotally, feedback seems to be that the laptops provided over the course of the crisis have generally been of good quality, although they do require setting up before being distributed.

“We would encourage schools to report any problems to the Department for Education as it is clearly vital that this is sorted out.”

The DfE said the issue was being looked into.

The department also stressed that it was providing laptops and tablets that meet defined minimum technical specifications and standards.

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Amy Gibbons

Amy Gibbons

Amy Gibbons is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @tweetsbyames

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