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Layla Moran asks @GavinWilliamson about laptops for thousands of disadvantaged pupils

Layla Moran

@LibDems Education Spokesperson @LaylaMoran has condemned the Government’s failure to do “simple maths” to ensure all disadvantaged children have access to laptops during the COVID-19 crisis. 

In the House of Commons yesterday, the Secretary of State for Education confirmed plans to distribute just 230,000 laptops to disadvantaged pupils. This falls far short of the number needed for the 700,000 pupils who currently lack access to devices, according to evidence given to the Education Committee. 

Liberal Democrat Education Spokesperson Layla Moran said:

“Gavin Williamson’s plan clearly leaves thousands of children behind without access to devices to learn. It’s simple maths. 

“There’s a huge gap between the number of devices needed and the number being delivered. We can’t let the disadvantage gap become a gulf – the Government needs to step up and ensure every child has the ability to learn at home during this crisis.”

Here is the transcript of Layla Moran’s question to the Education Secretary in the House of Commons: 

Layla Moran MP: 

“I echo the thanks to the profession for what they have done so far. I would like to clarify some of the numbers that the Secretary of State used. The Chair of the Select Committee on Education said that there were 700,000 children without devices. The Secretary of State said that 100,000 had been distributed with 230,000 still to come. Seven hundred thousand minus 100,000 minus 230,000 makes 370,000 children without an internet device. Have I got that wrong? If so, will the Secretary of State please clarify? If I am right, will he explain how that squares with prioritising the most disadvantaged children and learning?”

Gavin Williamson MP:

“In terms of the distribution of laptops, we prioritised key groups that we felt were most vulnerable and most in need of them. A total of 230,000 laptops will be going out as part of that programme as well as tens of thousands of routers to help children from some of the most vulnerable families, who perhaps have some limited resources at home, but do not have the internet access that they need to access the online learning that we want them to enjoy.” 

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