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Support for our children and young people who do not have access to a digital device during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

The government has launched its scheme to provide laptops to help children and young people access remote education where they may not have regular access to IT equipment.

Digital Devices

Laptops will be available for loan to specific cohorts of children and young people (below) who do not currently have regular access to a digital device in order to complete their school work during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

  • Care leavers
  • Children with a social worker (including pre-school children)
  • Children in year 10, ahead of GCSEs next year who do not have a social worker and do not have the means to access a laptop or tablet on a regular basis

The local authority will identify the eligible care leavers and children with a social worker and Year 10 pupils attending local authority maintained schools, and order and then distribute the equipment accordingly. The devices will have settings to make sure they are safe and secure online and they will remain the property of the issuing local authority or school.

Each authority has been allocated a set amount of laptops for their local area and we are in the process of gathering the information needed to distribute this equipment.  Given there is a limit to the amount of laptops available to us, we may need to undertake some prioritisation exercises to ensure that the most vulnerable and those in need get this equipment in as timely and safe manner as possible.

Social workers have been asked to identify which children and young people meet the criteria for the scheme and check that devices have not already being provided by school, further education provider or other source. Social workers will be submitting this information over the next week, following that, the Local Authority will order the equipment, receive it into County Hall, where it will be tagged and checked accordingly.  The equipment will then be delivered to children directly in their homes or via their school.  The stock will not come in altogether and will arrived in a phased manner.

16 to 19-year-olds without a suitable device will be eligible for support via the 16-19 Bursary Fund made available to FE providers already, but if the Bursary Fund is already committed and additional resources are required, the FE provider will be able to put a business case to the Education and Skills Funding Agency for additional resources. Devices for these students aged 16-19 will be purchased by the FE provider directly.

All devices for care leavers and children with a social worker will be allocated and delivered to the local authority who will be responsible for distribution to families and young people, liaising with schools where appropriate.  Children and young people and/or their parents and carers will need to sign for the equipment (where appropriate and safe) following receiving a disclaimer about the ownership of the equipment and information on acceptable use.

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