Holly Lynch MP and council leaders have expressed frustration, as Calderdale schools have been told it could be weeks before they get the laptops they need for disadvantaged children to be able to learn remotely. With schools closed to most pupils, teachers have been submitting requests for laptops that have been offered by government, but many have received autoresponse emails to say that primary schools will be invited to apply for them ‘in the coming weeks’.
A change of policy yesterday means that those children without access to an IT device can now attend school, but Headteachers and unions have warned that this will leave schools in some areas overwhelmed, putting staff, pupils and their families at risk from Coronavirus.
Halifax MP Holly Lynch, council Leader Tim Swift and Cabinet Member for Children’s Services Adam Wilkinson, have written to Education Secretary Gavin Williamson to demand that all Calderdale pupils get the IT equipment and broadband they need to learn remotely.
“Since March the government has moved from one crisis and u-turn to the next, changing advice and guidance with extremely short notice, and causing uncertainty and chaos in our school system”, explains Holly Lynch.
“Their failure to get a grip of this pandemic has set pupils back many months in their learning, and they must act now to prevent disadvantaged pupils from falling further behind.”
Cllr Adam Wilkinson said:
“We always feared that there would not be enough laptops to go around should schools close, which is one of the reasons we had been keen for schools to remain fully open if at all possible. But with the government now conceding that the virus is out of control we must minimise the number of staff and pupils in schools, and that means ensuring all pupils have the equipment and broadband they need to learn from home.”
Cllr Tim Swift added:
“Our schools have done a fantastic job throughout this pandemic in very challenging circumstances. As a council we will continue to do all we can to support them and ensure they have the resources that they need.”
You can sign Labour’s petition to get all pupils online here: https://action.labour.org.uk/…/help-students-access…