Hundreds of York children have only just received laptops for school work – and more are still waiting

Photograph: Annie Spratt / Unsplash

More than 450 vulnerable children have only just received laptops or tablets to help them with their school work – almost three months since classrooms closed.

And a councillor has warned there are many more pupils in York and North Yorkshire who still have no access to the internet, and their learning could suffer as a result.

Cllr Ian Cuthbertson has written to the Department for Education about the delays – which meant City of York Council only received the essential IT devices this week.

The government announced in April that disadvantaged children with no access to a computer or tablet could get one for free.

Disadvantaged groups

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson. Photograph: Screengrab

Cllr Cuthbertson’s letter says: “Two months after the announcement of the scheme was made by the Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson, City of York Council has only yesterday received its first order of the promised devices.

“While we welcome this delivery, it does not cover all disadvantaged groups for which the council had submitted orders, and there is currently no indication of any further delivery dates from the Government.

“We cannot ignore the ongoing impact on these children without access to learning resources they need and deserve.”

The council is still awaiting delivery of a further order of 34 devices for disadvantaged Year 10 pupils.

Launching the plans on April 19, Mr Williamson 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.”

Schools will be able to keep the laptops once they have reopened.