How Sheffield schools have received half the number of laptops than those in Leeds

Sheffield’s local authority schools have received just over 5,000 devices and 700 routers from the Government for the 2020/21 academic year – less than half the number sent to Leeds.

By Lisa Wong
Wednesday, 28th April 2021, 9:08 am

The latest figures published by the Department of Education for the period up until April 13 2021, states that 5,073 devices and 774 routers were delivered or dispatched to local authorities or LA-maintained schools in Sheffield this academic year through the Get Help With Technology service.

The scheme has sought to support disadvantaged young people with remote learning during the Covid-19 pandemic, by providing schools, academy trusts and local authorities with laptops, tablets and 4G wireless routers.

A spokesperson for Get Help with Technology, said: “The Government is investing over £400 million to support access to remote education and online social care services, including making 1.3 million laptops and tablets available for disadvantaged children and young people.

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The Get Help With Technology service provides disadvantaged young people with laptops, tablets and 4G wireless routers to support remote learning during the Covid-19 pandemic. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

“To date, over 1.2 million laptops and tablets have been delivered to schools, trusts, local authorities and further education providers.

“We have partnered with the UK’s leading mobile operators to provide free data to help over 30,000 disadvantaged children get online as well as delivering over 70,000 4G wireless routers for pupils without connection at home.”

Those who qualify for the scheme include children in years three to 11 whose face-to-face education is disrupted; children who have been advised to shield because they – or someone they live with – are clinically extremely vulnerable; children attending a hospital school; and 14 to 16-year-olds enrolled for Key Stage 4 at sixth-form colleges and whose face-to-face education is disrupted.

The 5,073 devices and 774 routers do not include devices delivered to academy trusts or the share of 220,000 devices delivered across the country during the summer term in 2020.

Sheffield received a total of 1,898 devices and 665 routers up until the period August 27, 2020.

The numbers account for those delivered or dispatched to local authorities only and were divided between disadvantaged year 10 pupils, who received 121 devices, and children with a social worker or care leavers, who received 1,777 devices.

Only children with a social worker or care leavers were given routers.

The number of devices awarded to schools is calculated using free school meals data, an estimate of the number of devices a school or college already has and private device ownership.

According to the Department of Education, this calculation is reflective of the current need.

However, Sheffield’s next nearest big city, Leeds, has received more than double the number of devices through the Get Help with Technology scheme.

As at April 13, 2021, a total of 11,637 devices and 779 routers have been delivered or dispatched to local authorities or LA-maintained schools in Leeds this academic year, not including devices delivered during the summer term in 2020.

The Laptops for Kids campaign was launched in Sheffield in September 2020 by The Star, WANdisco and Learn Sheffield.

As a result of not having access to laptops or the internet and the Government not providing enough support, a growing number of young people in the city were falling behind with their studies.

The campaign has since helped thousands of young people across the north of England.

For more information, see here.