Children from disadvantaged backgrounds are to receive free laptops and tablets to help them learn during the coronavirus lockdown.
Students in English schools from poorer families will also provided with 4G routers so they can access the internet if their families do not already have mobile or broadband internet, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said.
The measure is part of a drive to make remote learning more accessible while schools remain closed during the coronavirus lockdown, and includes a new online academy to deliver lessons online.
Mr Williamson apologised to students for the interruption to their studies while also saying no date has been set for re-opening schools in England.
It comes on what would have been the first day of the summer term in schools.
-No date for re-opening schools until 5 tests are met
-No pupil should be left behind
-The launch of the @OakNational with 180 video lessons each week
-Laptops & tablets for disadvantaged young people pic.twitter.com/7dSL8viH62
— Department for Education (@educationgovuk) April 19, 2020
The government-launched Oak National Academy started offering online lessons on Monday, set up in less than a fortnight by 40 teachers from some of England’s leading schools.
It will offer 180 lessons per week and will cover a broad range of subjects such as maths, arts and languages for children aged between reception and year 10.
Electronic devices will ordered for pupils “in the most vital stages of their education for those who receive support from a social worker and care leavers”, the Department for Education (DfE) said.
To be eligible for the scheme the student must not already have a device, have a social worker, care leavers, or disadvantaged in year 10 ahead of their GCSEs next year.
A further £1.6 million will also be made available by the government to the NSPCC so it can expand its national helpline for adults.