Norfolk pupils get over 10,000 laptops and tablets in government scheme
- Credit: PA
More than 10,000 Norfolk school pupils have benefited from a government scheme to provide digital devices to help with home learning during the pandemic.
Data from the Department for Education (DfE) shows 1,313,449 laptops and tablets have been delivered or dispatched to support children to access remote education since the start of the pandemic.
Just over 5,000 digital devices, which also includes 4G routers and free mobile data, have gone to local authority schools in Norfolk.
More than 5,000 have also been distributed to academies across the county, with the largest number, 1,615 having gone to Inspiration Trust, made up of 14 academies in Norfolk and Suffolk.
Eastern Multi-Academy Trust, which includes schools in Thetford, King’s Lynn and across west Norfolk, saw 661 pupils receive devices, while 393 benefitted at the Enrich Learning Trust, which includes Wymondham High and North Walsham high schools.
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Evolution Academy Trust, made up of 13 primary schools around Norwich, received 461, Synergy Multi-Academy Trust 302, North Norfolk Academies Trust 219 and West Norfolk Academies Trust 230.
Schools have further benefited from local donations and other appeals including the Every Child Online campaign, run by this newspaper alongside Norfolk County Council and the Norfolk Community Foundation (NCF), that collected 5,343 laptops for children.
Former local head Geoff Barton, who is now general secretary of the ASCL headteacher union, called for a long-term commitment from the Government to fund the IT in schools beyond the pandemic.
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“Setting a target of every pupil having a laptop of their own would be a logical and impressive new target for the DfE to set itself,” he said.
Cobholm Primary Academy, which is part of the Inspiration Trust, has given tablet devices to all reception and Year 1 pupils to support the pupils in their phonics learning, a project that stems from before the first lockdown.
Head of school Jordan Sullivan said: “We knew that providing our youngest children with tablets would be incredibly helpful in supporting their phonics learning, and this was something we have wanted to do for a while.
“We originally thought of this before lockdown started, but obviously they have also proved especially helpful during lockdown, giving our pupils a really useful tool to help them.”