Thousands of Devices Aid Online Learning
More than 2,300 laptops and tablets and routers to access the internet have been distributed to young people in South Tyneside to provide much-needed help for home learning.
A further 770 digital devices are expected to be given out over the coming weeks by the Council working in partnership with local schools.
The Council launched a strategy to support disadvantaged pupils at the start of the pandemic and this has been complemented by the provision of devices from the Department for Education.
The devices have been a godsend for one local family.
Sea View Primary School pupils Charlie and Daisy Haynes had to share one laptop with their younger brother and their two school-age step-siblings until they received a laptop each at the start of the latest lockdown.
"Home schooling was quite a challenge," said dad John Marnie of Bruce Close in South Shields.
"The laptops have been a massive help. They wouldn't have been able to do their work without them. Their teachers have been really impressed at how well they are doing since they got their laptops - it really has been brilliant."
The devices are allocated to children and young people who do not have access to a suitable device or who have to share with other children in the home.
The Council is currently working to send school devices out to families not covered by the DfE scheme. These are first equipped with the necessary filters and programs so that they can be used appropriately and safely by young people.
Councillor Moira Smith, Lead Member for Children, Young People and Families, said: "We want to make sure that no child is disadvantaged or left behind as a result of the pandemic.
"As part of our mission to give every child the best start in life, we have, and continue to do, all we can to make sure that our children and young people have the tools they need to continue leaning in these challenging times."
The Council has also set up a support website with advice on a range of issues from home learning to how to use the internet and social media safely. To find out more visit www.beststartict.life/