Hundreds of children will benefit from IT equipment and wifi routers thanks to a government scheme to boost digital inclusion.
A total of over 900 devices will have been loaned to year 10 pupils, care leavers and children who have a social worker in Northumberland in order to support their home learning needs. Identified by staff in Northumberland County Council and schools, these students will now be able to access digital learning and online resources for the first time since lockdown, ensuring they do not miss out.
Cllr Wayne Daley, North of Tyne Cabinet Member for Education Improvement and Northumberland County Council Cabinet Member for Children’s services said: “This will be a welcome relief to these children and their families. Online access will open the doors to a wider bank of learning for them, and will help them successfully continue on their educational journey during what we know is a difficult time for all.
“Schools have already worked closely with these pupils, but recognise the difficulties they faced when it came to accessing more. We are pleased the government made this pledge to support those most disadvantaged, and we look forward to hearing about how it has helped.
“We are committed to supporting the digital learning needs of our county’s students, and because of this we are linking into £205,000 of funding available through the North of Tyne Combined Authority to supply more equipment, including dongles – further investing in our children’s futures .”
The devices include Microsoft laptops, Chromebooks and tablets and will be on loan until education returns to normal. The Combined Authority has pledged £680k in total to help residents in the North of Tyne stay connected with key services during Covid-19.
North of Tyne Combined Authority (NTCA) has worked closely with Northumberland County Council, North Tyneside Council, and Newcastle City Council to rapidly establish a digital equipment loan scheme to support residents to access digital services and opportunities.
Building upon the Department for Education offer for Year 10 school pupils, the North of Tyne Digital Inclusion scheme will deliver equipment to more school children, adults in learning and employability services, and residents shielding in care homes.
Mayor Jamie Driscoll said: “It makes perfect sense to move services online. But we’ve got to make sure no one is left out. That’s why we’re giving people the tools they need to stay connected.
“That includes kids doing schoolwork from home, people who’ve lost their jobs and need the internet to find work, and people in care homes staying in touch with their loved ones.”
Should you wish to find out more about education in Northumberland during COVID19 head to www.northumberland.gov.uk/coronavirus/Northumberland-schools