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£160 million to support remote education for schools, colleges and teachers

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New remote education support for schools, colleges and teachers 

Extra resources announced to support delivery of remote education, including 100,000 additional devices and increased peer to peer support for teachers.

Schools, colleges, teachers and pupils across England will benefit from new remote education support to help children learn at home if they have to self-isolate, the Education Secretary announced (1 October).

The new support includes an additional 100,000 laptops to be made available for those children most in need if they’re required to learn at home, as well as expanding the EdTech Demonstrator programme to ensure schools and teachers are able to make best use of technology available to them to enhance the at-home learning given to their pupils.

The Government has also published (1 Oct) a Temporary Continuity Direction, regarding the provision of remote education in schools, under the Coronavirus Act 2020. The Direction means schools have a duty to provide education to children at home, as they do when children are in the classroom.

Thanks to the hard work of teachers and staff, and the collective effort of parents, over seven million children and young people returned to the classroom in September. The Direction will help provide assurances to both pupils and parents that if pupils have to self-isolate at home their education will not be disrupted.

In the event of a confirmed case, schools are following the necessary guidance, including requiring small groups of children to self-isolate. In these cases, continuing to provide education is an absolute necessity. The Direction helps ensure this and sets a clear expectation on the high-quality education they should receive.

Gavin Williamson 100x100Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

“The best place for children and young people to learn is in the classroom, which is why we made it a national priority to get all pupils back into schools and colleges full-time, and why I have been so pleased to see millions of them returning over the past few weeks.

“We have also, as we would expect, seen small numbers of students self-isolating in line with public health advice. It’s vital these students have access to high quality and consistent remote education.

“I know that through the incredible hard work of our teachers and staff, pupils will continue to receive the education they deserve through this academic year, whatever the circumstances, and I will do everything I can to support our schools, colleges and young people in making sure that’s the case.”

Nick GibbNick Gibb, Schools Standards Minister, said:

“The Government were clear that pupils in all year groups and from all types of school should return to school full time from the beginning of the autumn term. Figures show that, as of 15 October, 99.7% of schools were open and over 7 million children and young people are back in school, representing 89% of pupils across the country. We continue to do everything in our power to ensure that every child can continue to attend school safely, because that is the best place for them to be for their education, development and wellbeing.

“Ensuring that schools can provide a high quality of remote education was and continues to be a key part of our work to support schools. Alongside the direction, the Department announced further remote education support intended to help schools and colleges in meeting the remote education expectations. The support package is available over the coming months, and parts of it are available now to support schools and colleges seeking additional support. Information can be found on the “Get help with remote education” page on the gov.uk website.

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“We have invested over £160 million to support remote education. As part of that, during the summer term, we delivered over 220,000 laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children who would not otherwise have access to the internet. It was one of the largest procurements of computers in the UK. On one single day, 27,000 were being delivered. We are now supplementing that support by making available 250,000 additional laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children in years 3 to 11 in the event that face-to-face schooling is disrupted this term as a result of the pandemic. By the end of this week, we will have delivered, since the beginning of term, 100,000 of those 250,000 computers to schools.”

To support schools and colleges, the Government has added 100,000 laptops to the reserve of 150,000 already made available, and the 220,000 already delivered to those pupils most in need so they can continue their education.

The extra devices will be available to support:

  • disadvantaged children in Years 3-11 who do not already have access to a device;
  • disadvantaged, clinically extremely vulnerable children of all year groups who are unable to return to school, and
  • children in all year groups unable to access remote education whilst attending a hospital school.

The package will also see 80 grants of £1,000 to Further Education (FE) providers across England, providing additional training and support for mentors and coaches specialising in assisting teachers with remote education.

Over £1m of additional funding will also be invested in expanding the EdTech Demonstrator programme, a network of schools and colleges that provide peer-to-peer support to help teachers and support workers use technology as effectively as possible.

The EdTech Demonstrator programme, which currently has capacity to provide bespoke one to one support to 3,400 schools and colleges, will be expanded to support a further 1,000. The existing network of Demonstrators will grow to 50 schools and colleges, supported by £1.5m of additional funding.

In total, the programme has already provided support to over 6,000 schools and colleges through webinars, tutorials, and bespoke one to one support to school staff.

New resources for staff, including a good practice guide and school-led webinars, will also be made available. This is in addition to the video lessons offered by the sector-led Oak National Academy, into which the Government is investing £4.84m, and other providers of quality education resources.

Schools that are accessing free devices or that are newly set up on an education digital platform, are encouraged to access the funded support available through the EdTech Demonstrator programme.

Recent attendance statistics show that 99.8% of state-funded schools were open on 24 September, with the overwhelming majority of children and young people continuing their education with minimal disruption.

The Department for Education is working in partnership with an industry coalition to provide technology to support remote education 

Schools and colleges were able to get access to remote education resources during the school closure period. Local authorities were also able to get access to resources to support care leavers and children with social workers.

The Department for Education is working in partnership with technology suppliers such as Google and Microsoft to provide:

  • internet access and digital devices (such as laptops) for some disadvantaged secondary school pupils who do not already have them
  • internet access and digital devices for care leavers and children with social workers who do not already have them
  • support for schools to access online platforms where teachers can set and collect work from pupils
  • training on using remote education resources from the technology suppliers
  • support from other schools and colleges who are already using these resources

Schools, trusts and local authorities have been able to place online orders for devices for eligible pupils from Wednesday 22 April. Parents and pupils are not be able to order the devices themselves.

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