1,350 laptops and WiFi devices provided for digitally excluded learners
21 May 2020
A major effort by Neath Port Talbot Council’s schools and digital services staff has provided vital equipment for learners without access to laptops or broadband.
Following the announcement from the Welsh Education Minister Kirsty Williams that there would be additional funding for digitally excluded learners, all schools in Neath Port Talbot engaged with their pupils’ families and reported their requirements to their Education Support Officer.
As a result, in the region of 1,100 laptops and 250 mobile WiFi devices were requested.
The IT team based in Neath Port Talbot Council’s offices at The Quays, Briton Ferry, along with the School Improvement Service, worked hard together to ensure no youngsters were excluded as lessons continue online in the health emergency.
The IT department has now delivered virtually all of the requested equipment to schools for parents to pick up with just a last few deliveries to be made.
A “digitally excluded” learner is defined as a pupil who does not have access to an appropriate internet-connected device to participate in online learning activities from home.
The work in Neath Port Talbot was carried out within a month of Welsh Education Minister Kirsty Williams announcing an extra £3m of funding for digitally excluded learners on April 29th, 2020.
Neath Port Talbot Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Culture, Cllr Peter Rees, said: “I want to congratulate Neath Port Talbot Council’s education and digital services staff for their tremendous work together in ensuring this equipment is available for digitally excluded learners so quickly.
“It means a lack of access to a laptop or broadband will no longer be a barrier to learning. This lives up one of the council’s main priorities which is that everyone should have an equal chance to get on in life.
“It is good to see that in these unprecedented times, and in line with our Smart & Connected digital strategy, we’re making the most of digital technology to support children and young people so they can continue learning.”