Laptops, iPads and Chromebooks being sent to let children learn remotely

Essex County Council. Photo: ANDRA MACIUCA.

Essex County Council. Photo: ANDRA MACIUCA. - Credit: ANDRA MACIUCA

Secondary schools in Essex are to receive 2,500 iPads, Chromebooks and laptops this month to help children learn remotely during the ongoing pandemic lockdown.

Primary schools have also been asked about pupils without online access, and an initial 400 iPads are ready. Some have already gone out in Tendring, with more to be delivered across the rest of the county from today (Wednesday, January 20).

Essex County Council's initiative called Closing The Digital Divide is targeting children and young people without access to a device at home. Depending on supply, the council then hopes that additional devices can be provided to larger families.

Colleges across Essex and schools in Basildon received 500 devices before Christmas, supporting the move to online learning because of the rise in coronavirus cases.

A Government scheme launched in summer 2020 has providing 2,500 devices for the most vulnerable children in year 10 at local authority-maintained schools and care settings in the county. Schools can apply for more this month via the government portal.

Councillor Louise McKinlay. Picture: Supplied

Councillor Louise McKinlay. Picture: Supplied - Credit: Archant

Councillor Louise McKinlay, cabinet member for Children and Families said: “We want to ensure that as many children as possible can partake in online lessons.

"To do this, technology is of course vital and by investing in these devices, we can support our schools to deliver lessons to our children.

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"It is crucial that during this period of lockdown and the pandemic that our children’s education is at the forefront of all we do.” 

Cllr McKinlay has appealed for businesses to donate old laptops. Last year more than 700 were offered.

She added: “I would like to thank everyone who has donated a device. Your generosity is making a big difference to young people’s education.

“Due to Covid-19 restrictions, we cannot currently accept donations from individuals but we can collect from companies who may be upgrading their hardware.

"Our partners at EOL IT services will cleanse and recondition the machines so they are ready for use.” 

It does not matter the age, make or condition of the laptop as they will be re-used or the parts sold to buy new equipment.