Disadvantaged York children trying to study at home are falling behind because the laptops promised by ministers haven’t arrived.
Now a city MP has challenged the Education Secretary about the problem.
Julian Sturdy’s intervention came after the Government conceded that students would have to wait until at the least the end of the month for the distribution of over 200,000 laptops under a previously announced scheme.
He said this could prove ‘too little too late’.
Taking part in a virtual education questions in the House of Commons, the York Outer MP asked Education Secretary Gavin Williamson:
Headteachers in York have told me of their frustration that they will have to wait at least another month until they can provide students with laptops under the Government’s scheme.
What assurances can my right hon friend give me that support will be available to schools in the meantime to help their most disadvantaged students learn from home?
Heads are frustrated
In reply, Mr Williamson said that “£100 million for computers and other support for schools is a major investment, and it takes a while for these resources to arrive at schools”.
Afterwards Mr Sturdy said: “Having asked local schools in York about the challenges they are facing in adapting to these challenging times, one of the biggest issues that headteachers have raised is their fear that students from disadvantaged backgrounds are falling behind their peers due to a lack of resources at home.
“I very much welcomed the Government’s earlier announcement that 200,000 new laptops would be made available to address this, but I fear that it could prove too little too late for students that are struggling to access online learning resources now.
“I will continue to engage with our local schools to ensure they are properly supported both now and as they prepare to reopen in the future.”