The Education Minister, Kirsty Williams, has announced up to £3 million to support ‘digitally excluded’ learners during the coronavirus pandemic.
As part of the ‘Stay Safe. Stay Learning’ programme, the Welsh Government is working with local authorities to support digitally excluded learners during the current pandemic.
A ‘digitally excluded’ learner is defined as a student who does not have access to an appropriate internet-connected device to participate in online learning activities from home.
Local authorities, working closely with their schools, will utilise the funding to provide digitally excluded learners with repurposed school devices and 4G MiFi connectivity where required. Replacement devices will then also be funded for schools out of the wider Hwb infrastructure programme.
Schools are identifying digitally excluded learners by contacting parents and carers. Meanwhile, local authorities are identifying devices which can be repurposed with up-to-date software.
The Education Minister, Kirsty Williams, said:
The coronavirus crisis has made learning from home necessary for most children at the moment. Modern technology allows us to learn remotely, with a wide range of brilliant learning tools available online. However, I recognises that it poses challenges for many families.
It is my priority that no child or family is left behind during this crisis and all children have the opportunity to continue learning. By repurposing school kit, we will ensure that children and families get the support they need as quickly as possible.
This funding will ensure that a lack of access to a laptop or broadband will no longer be a barrier to learning. It will play a key role in supporting families, ensuring that their children continue on their education journey, wherever they are learning from.