Laptops and data
The Department for Education (DfE) is providing additional laptops and tablets to support children who do not already have access to a device for remote learning.
Parents, carers and pupils cannot apply directly for laptops and tablets but they can contact their school who can request one on their behalf. The offer is to children considered to be vulnerable or disadvantaged, so please speak to your school about eligibility for a device. Secondary schools have already been invited by the Government to order laptops and tablets, and primary schools will be invited to order them over coming weeks, starting in the most disadvantaged areas in England.
The DfE is also providing support for pupils who have no internet access or who cannot afford increased data charges. Again, you can talk to your school, early help or social worker about how to access this support. Further information on this scheme is available.
The Government has said it is going to provide extra funding to support schools to provide food parcels or meals to children who are eligible for free school meals.
Where schools cannot offer food parcels or use local solutions, a national voucher scheme will be in place so that eligible children, who meet the qualification criteria due to low income, can access free school meals while they are remotely learning from home.
In Devon, schools are working with their catering providers so that meals continue to be available to any eligible pupils still attending school – including all infants and those receiving benefits-related free school meals – as well as to eligible pupils who are now learning from home.
GCSEs and A and AS Level exams will not go ahead this summer, the Education Secretary has confirmed. Instead, there will be some form of teacher-assessed grading. The details of how that will happen are not yet finalised.
Students studying for vocational and technical qualifications should hear from their schools or colleges about their January exams and assessments.
Student attendance in schools is currently about 26 per cent in primary schools and 10 per cent in secondary schools, which includes both local authority schools and academies. There are about 93,000 children in school in Devon, approximately 56,000 in primaries and 37,000 in secondaries.
Devon County Council Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Schools, James McInnes, said:
”Heads and school staff are working really hard to ensure that children are able to learn, whether that’s in the classroom or virtually.
“The coronavirus crisis has worsened considerably since Christmas and guidelines are having to change to take account of that so our schools are coping with regularly changing advice.
“But many heads and teachers are innovating with real flair. Some schools in Devon are streaming live classroom lessons to children at home and others are recording lessons so that families can make use of them at a time which is convenient to them. That’s particularly helpful if parents are working at home and only have limited devices.
“I know combining classroom learning with virtual learning is adding to teachers’ workload, but I’m glad to see more children actually coming to school than in the last lockdown. It means parents are confident that we’ve done all we can to make schools safe and it’s good for children’s mental health and wellbeing, as well as their learning, to be with their friends.”