Jane Stevenson, MP for Wolverhampton North East, has welcomed Government measures put in place to ensure every student across Wolverhampton receives a high-quality remote education while schools are closed.
Throughout the pandemic, education has been a national priority, and thanks to the efforts of teachers and school staff across the country, schools remain the best and safest place for children to learn.
However, with the UK now in alert level 5, the highest it has ever been, the closure of schools is now necessary to keep the new variant of the virus under control. While there is no substitute for learning in a classroom, the Government has strengthened measures to ensure every child has access to a high-quality remote education.
As part of the Government’s commitment that no child is left behind, it is providing a million laptops and tablets for schools to allocate locally to students who need them most. To date, it has delivered over 560,000 devices to councils in England, with students in Wolverhampton benefitting from nearly 1,300 devices provided to schools and colleges across the city. A further 100,000 devices are arriving this week nationally.
In tackling the barriers to remote learning for our most vulnerable students, over 54,000 4G routers to have been delivered to schools and colleges in England, ensuring every child has internet access. The Government is building on this work through its partnership with the UK’s leading mobile phone providers, including EE, Three, O2 and Vodafone, to deliver free internet access for these students until July 2021.
The Government has also strengthened remote education requirements for schools, which will be enforced by Ofsted, so parents can be reassured that their children will benefit from a set number of hours of high-quality remote learning a day.
Jane said: “The difficult decision to close schools and colleges in Wolverhampton was not taken lightly but is necessary if we are to keep the new variant of the virus at bay in the city and across the country.
“While nothing can ever replace the benefits of learning in a classroom for our children and young people, we will continue to do everything we can to make sure they have access to a high-quality remote education so they can receive the world class education that they deserve”.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “The last thing any Education Secretary wants to do is close schools and this is not a decision that the Government ever wanted to take. But the closing of schools for the majority of pupils does not mean the end of their education.
“Schools and colleges are much better prepared to deliver online learning – with the delivery of a million devices well underway, data support and high-quality video lessons available via the Oak National Academy.”