Letter to Prime Minister: Those on the ‘wrong side of the digital divide’ need assistance because English secondary schools remain closed
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A coalition of senior public figures said that after the education secretary acknowledged that some schools could stay closed for weeks, hundreds of thousands of pupils should be given computers or broadband connections they lack to learn remotely during the pandemic. In a letter organized by Labour MP Siobhain McDonagh, MPs, unions and charities called on Boris Johnson to take action to support children “Continue reading “Children on the wrong side of the digital divide do not have the data or computers to log on from home when their schools close,” said the Labour MP. Parents face a week of confusion about the reopening of schools in England. According to McDonagh, citing data from the Office for National Statistics, only 51 percent of households earning between £ 6,000 and £ 10,000 have internet access, McDonagh said. All secondary schools and colleges will be closed from Monday, the first official day of the new school year in England, except for disadvantaged children and those with parents who are key employees.
All schools in London will remain closed, although pupils would also be taught remotely in some parts of Essex, Kent, East Sussex, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire. Only three days after announcing that he was “absolutely confident” that all schools will reopen, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson admitted on Sunday that secondary schools will remain closed for most pupils in the 60 “emergency areas” after Sunday. For certain vulnerable students since the pandemic, access to mobile devices has been an ongoing problem.
Last October, just two days after the government placed a legal requirement on schools to provide Covid-affected pupils with distance learning, principals across England were told that their laptop allocations had been cut by around 80 percent for deprived pupils.