By KLTV Newsdesk
Vulnerable children across Kirklees are receiving free computers to help them with their education and learning.
Kirklees Council has announced they are delivering around 1,300 laptops to eligible children and young people, including children with a social worker, young carers, children whose families receive certain benefits, care leavers, and disadvantaged school pupils who are due to take GCSEs next year.
In addition, 200 4G routers are being provided to support pupils who currently can’t get online when they are at home.
The council has secured the equipment through a government scheme.
Their aim is to make sure vulnerable children and those from disadvantaged backgrounds are able to learn away from school and achieve better long-term outcomes.
Cllr Viv Kendrick, Cabinet Member for Children, said: “There are many families who don’t have a laptop and there are many children who can’t access the internet at home.
“They rely on the facilities at their school, but most pupils have been at home since March and as a result, they are missing out.”
Cllr Kendrick added that they are determined to tackle inequality of any kind and that the last few months have highlighted that digital inequality is an issue.
She said: “Providing this equipment will be a great boost to disadvantaged learners and support them to aspire and achieve just like their peers.”
Even in this age of working and learning from home, over six percent of households in England and Wales don’t have fixed internet access, which leaves many children unable to complete any online schoolwork.
A recent Oxford Internet Survey found that nearly 70 percent of people in the UK use some form of public wifi and almost 20 percent of those use the internet in public libraries.
As services such as these have shut, so too has internet access been stopped for hundreds of thousands of people.
These closures disproportionately affect people from low economic backgrounds who rely on public access to interact with an increasingly digitised society.
Cllr Carole Pattison, Cabinet Member for Learning, Aspiration, and Communities, said: “Kirklees schools have done a wonderful job in providing distance learning and other online support during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“They introduced new systems almost overnight and have continued making a real difference in thousands of lives.
Cllr Pattison emphasised that the council aims to support young people to have the best start in life and fulfill their potential.
She added: “Pupils without a laptop or easy access to the internet have not had the same opportunities, so we are pleased to be helping so many children and families.”
The council has worked with schools and other organisations to identify which children are eligible for the scheme and have the greatest need.
Hundreds of devices have already been delivered, with many more to follow.