Hounslow Council has announced it will supply 750 extra laptops and 150 internet connections to children learning from home in the borough during lockdown.
Published: Wednesday, 20th January 2021
The Council has been exploring ways to tackle digital exclusion highlighted by school closures during lockdown, with some children unable to access online learning because of a lack of equipment at home.
During the pandemic Hounslow Council has been distributing devices supplied by the Department for Education, but there is still a shortfall of equipment both locally and nationally.
Cllr Tom Bruce, cabinet member for Education, Children and Youth Services, said:
“We cannot have a situation where children in our schools don’t have access to the equipment they need to make a success of home learning during lockdown.
“That’s why we’ve taken the decision to purchase 750 laptops, in addition to the laptops already distributed, to help address the shortfall. We also know that connectivity is a problem for some families in the borough, so we are purchasing 150 internet dongles that will provide unlimited access for a year.
“No child or family should be left behind because of a lack of equipment. We will continue to look at ways to make sure this urgent need is met and that has to include a firmer commitment from central government that every child will get the equipment they need to learn from home.
“I want to pay a special tribute to the tremendous efforts of local organisations for their work supplying laptops to schoolchildren, and members of the public who have been donating equipment.
“Volunteers at Hounslow Promise have made a fantastic contribution up to date. They have been receiving donated laptops and refurbishing them ready for children to start learning online. This has made a huge difference to pupils across the borough and I’m confident that together we will address the challenge before us.”
Cllr Pritam Grewal, Cabinet Member for Customer Services and Corporate Performance, said:
“We must address the challenge of digital exclusion across the whole of our society. Our Digital Strategy, which Hounslow Council adopted last year, sets out how we aim to do that. Central to our plan is making sure all our residents have basic digital skills, access to good broadband and the device they need to use online services. It’s also about making sure Council services are accessible to all who need them.”
If you live or work in Hounslow, Richmond Rugby Club is currently collecting donated laptops that can be repurposed for children in local Hounslow schools. More details.