VR57 – Ministerial Report from the Education Secretary: Laptops for Schools programme

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As many as are of the opinion, aye. (22)
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Of the Contrary, no. (24)
48.98%
Abstain. (3)
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Andrew97
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R57 – Ministerial Report from the Education Secretary: Laptops for Schools programme

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Ministerial Report: Department for Education
Secretary of State: Saracen's Fez MP

Laptops for Schools: a personal computer for every child

I would like to update the House on the lessons the Department for Education are learning from the coronavirus outbreak and the sudden move towards remote learning, and how we will use the current restrictions to transform England's school system through technology.

Until the current contact restrictions were put in place, schools had never needed to take their curricula fully online. The subsequent rush to move teaching to a remote, online system has created unintentional inequalities: between schools and between students. These are inequalities that we must solve so that we can ensure a good standard of education for all. Whilst a vast number of schools have been at the forefront of bringing technology into their educational provision, I am conscious that many others are far behind the curve. Many schools that are in the latter position are not entirely there through any fault of their own: a recent survey found that just 2% of those working in the most disadvantaged schools believe all their pupils have adequate access to devices for online learning. These pupils' lack of exposure to computing risks making it near impossible for them to compete in the workforce in the future, a workforce which may well choose to remain online much more than before, even once life returns to normal after the virus.

The measures set forth in this report will aim to correct this, both for the coronavirus world and to modernise the education system thereafter. Simply put, we will provide every child at high school in England with a laptop, and encourage schools to make increased use of online resources and functionality. My department will invest an initial £1.35 billion to enable every mainstream secondary school to launch a scheme that will enable every child to loan an LTE- (4G-) connected Laptop during their time at that school. This will not only revolutionise education during this crisis, but for years to come.

There will naturally follow concerns about theft and damage. The risk of these has already been borne into serious consideration: parents and guardians would sign agreements taking responsibility for the machine and agreeing to pay for damage or loss of the product. Schools will also be directed towards devices that can be locked down tightly to prevent resale or inappropriate usage. Parents would be given the opportunity to purchase the device at the end of their child's life at that school, with the restrictions removed should they deem necessary.

As a representative of a rural constituency and a past pupil of a rural high school, I would also like to acknowledge the transformative potential of such a scheme for our rural schools in particular. The ability to deliver more teaching remotely has the potential to significantly broaden the range of subjects that can be offered to learners at Key Stages 4 and 5. There is an obvious obstacle, which is availability of stable and fast internet connections, and this is an area where I am already working with colleagues to bring forward the necessary changes to ensure what we truly provide is a personal computer for every child.

Notes
A survey of 6,249 teachers in England by Teacher Tapp found that only 2 per cent of those working in the most disadvantaged schools believe all their pupils have adequate access to devices for online learning (source: https://inews.co.uk/news/education/h...d-data-2521004)

The initial cost is calculated by assuming a budget of £400 per laptop for an LTE-connected laptop that students can use for the time they have secondary education. This is something that can be purchased already through bulk education pricing e.g.: https://eduproducts.withgoogle.com/p...-inches-silver. This is multiplied by the current roll of high-school pupils in England, which is some 3.3 million, to generate the £1.35bn figure. Barnett consequentials are £131m for Scotland, £76m for Wales and £45m for Northern Ireland, bringing the total additional cost to the Treasury to £1.6bn.

Note that the Chromebook example is simply to allow a calculation to be made – schools would be free to go with whichever solutions work for them. This is combined with the number of mainstream secondary students at present. An amount of money would be needed to maintain this programme over time, in particular to purchase new machines for the children that come into the high-school system and to replace genuine machine failures, however we would expect the vast majority of this money to come from the reductions in capital expenditure in schools e.g. needing to print less/buy fewer exercise books and instead use the laptops to do more and more work.

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the bear
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the school bullies would have a field day trashing and stealing the laptops of vulnerable children. online learning is a poor substitute for proper classroom teaching and books.
hand writing would quickly be relegated to a niche middle class hobby like origami or brass rubbing.
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Possibly this
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#3
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I've made my grievances with regards to this scheme clear already and therefore cannot vote in its favour.
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username5228090
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(Original post by the bear)
the school bullies would have a field day trashing and stealing the laptops of vulnerable children. online learning is a poor substitute for proper classroom teaching and books.
hand writing would quickly be relegated to a niche middle class hobby like origami or brass rubbing.
I mean in the real world it is?

This doesn't propose online learning nor does it seek to have pure online learning. It's about providing our students with the best tools they need in which to actually learn.
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1st superstar
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#5
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Abstain not everyone should be given a computer only those who can’t afford one should be given one.
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1st superstar
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#6
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(Original post by the bear)
the school bullies would have a field day trashing and stealing the laptops of vulnerable children. online learning is a poor substitute for proper classroom teaching and books.
hand writing would quickly be relegated to a niche middle class hobby like origami or brass rubbing.
Aye!
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Jammy Duel
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#7
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(Original post by 1st superstar)
Abstain not everyone should be given a computer only those who can’t afford one should be given one.
And because it should only be some you will indirectly vote for it!
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1st superstar
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(Original post by Jammy Duel)
And because it should only be some you will indirectly vote for it!
Meaning?
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CatusStarbright
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#9
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#9
No. This is an unnecessary waste of money.
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1st superstar
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#10
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(Original post by CatusStarbright)
No. This is an unnecessary waste of money.
somewhat agreed
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Jammy Duel
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(Original post by 1st superstar)
Meaning?
There is a good chance that an abstention will result in passage, ergo by merely abstaining because you agree with a severely watered down version there is a good chance it is an effective aye
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1st superstar
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#12
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(Original post by Jammy Duel)
There is a good chance that an abstention will result in passage, ergo by merely abstaining because you agree with a severely watered down version there is a good chance it is an effective aye
i see
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AditOTAKU666
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#13
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#13
Instead of loaning these laptops, I suggest that we sell them to the pupils, getting back the money on fixed monthly installments.
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Andrew97
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#14
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#14
The following votes have been removed.

No:

Unown Uzer (Double vote in seat 26)
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Andrew97
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#15
Report Thread starter 6 months ago
#15
Order, order!

The Ayes to the right: 22
The Noes to the left: 23
Abstains: 3

The Noes have it, the Noes have it. Unlock!
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