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Disadvantaged students are being offered free laptops and tablets to help with their studies.

This was one of the announcements by Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson in his speech at 10 Downing Street on Sunday.

Schools have been closed since mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic. Children of key workers and vulnerable students are still required to attend. But should this move have come sooner? And what will it mean for disadvantaged pupils?

What will giving free laptops to vulnerable students mean?

Giving free laptops and tablets to disadvantaged students should make learning from home more achievable for children who are most in need.

Children will be eligible for devices if they don’t already have one or have a social worker or are care leavers. The scheme also applies to Year 10 students, ahead of upcoming GCSE exams.

The Department for Education has said that once schools reopen, the education establishment (school or college) will be able to keep the equipment.

What did Gavin Williamson say about the decision?

Speaking at the Downing Street press conference, the Education Secretary said:

By providing young people with these laptops and tablets and enabling schools to access high quality support, we will enable all children to continue learning now and in the years to come.

We hope this support will take some of the pressure off both parents and schools by providing more materials for them to use.

You can watch the full press conference here.

What else was announced in the second half of the speech?

The Government also committed £1.6m to charities supporting vulnerable children. Williamson added:

I know that families of seriously ill and disabled children are particularly worried at this time and I’m grateful to all staff who are working so hard to support their education, health and care. Particularly these in special schools and residential care homes; young people who have left care or just about to, whether that’s from a foster family or residential care. The really vulnerable right now.

I’m asking local authorities so that no one has t leave care during this difficult time. The £1.6bn of additional funding announced yesterday will help vulnerable authorities give care leavers and other vulnerable groups the support they need at this difficult time.

To further protect children from harm we’re continuing to support childline and working with the NSPCC to expand and promote the adult helpline by providing them with an extra £1.6m. This means children have support, someone to call and more adults will be able to raise concerns and seek advice about the safety and well being of any child that they are worried about.

How can EDLounge help?

With over 11,000 lessons, EDLounge’s virtual learning platform is designed to support vulnerable and disadvantaged students

The essential learning provided will support students and ensure they do not fall behind in education or in future employment. It will also help to reduce stress for parents.

Safeguarding is EDLounge’s number one priority. Facilities built into the software include alert mechanisms, eyes-on learning, instant/video chat, as well as all members of staff being enhanced CRB-checked.

For more information on EDLounge click here, call 01909 568 338.