Supporting Remote Learning by Providing Laptops to Lancashire Schools
Decision Maker: Leader of the County Council
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Currently, schools are open to two key categories of pupils: vulnerable children and the children of critical workers. The Department for Education has made it explicitly clear that children and young people not falling into either of these categories should continue to access learning remotely.
Updated guidance from the Department for Education published on 7 January, 2021, sets out a minimum amount of remote education which must be provided at each Key Stage for primary and secondary schools. Access to remote learning during the pandemic is dependent on the availability of laptops.
The guidance states that schools must overcome barriers to digital access for pupils by distributing school-owned laptops by a user agreement or contract.
Lancashire has 175,701 pupils at 628 schools and to ensure that all children and young people are able to access remote learning presents a challenge. Our data tells us that 37,367 (21.3%) children and young people across the county are identified as disadvantaged, ranging from 11.9% in the Ribble Valley to 31.2% in Burnley.
The objective of this report is to meet this challenge, through the allocation of free laptops for pupils who have not been able to access remote learning through any of the national or local schemes currently available.
The Leader of the County Council and the Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Schools approved the recommendation(s) as set out in the report.
This decision should be implemented immediately for the purposes of Standing Order C29 as any delay could adversely affect the execution of the County Council's responsibilities. The reason for this is set out in the report.
Urgent item?: Yes
Date of decision: 28/01/2021