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Laptop library funds sought by Supporting Youth in Deal District to educate children during pandemic

A computer borrowing scheme is being pursued, which would help children keep learning during the schools shutdown.

The laptop library scheme would involve youngsters loaning a device and those with no internet connection buying dongles.

More laptops are being provided for pupils to learn at home
More laptops are being provided for pupils to learn at home

The project, valued at about £7,000 is run by the Kent County Council Youth Centre at Lynwood in Deal.

But the funding is being pursued by the charity Supporting Youth in Deal District (SYDD).

It has secured £4,000 from Kent County Council and has applied to Deal Town Council for the remaining £3,000.

SYDD chairman Eileen Rowbotham said:"It has been identified that not all children in the Dover and Deal area have access to tablets, laptops or the internet.

"Without these resources, children will not be able to benefit from online learning and will fall behind.

Eileen Rowbotham says the digital divide must be addressed
Eileen Rowbotham says the digital divide must be addressed

"This must not be allowed to happen, as it could impact on children’s lives not just now but in the years ahead.

"This problem of the digital divide must be addressed as a priority."

Children have to learn from home during the schools shutdown as the coronavirus pandemic rages and Britain is now in its third lockdown.

Cllr Rowbotham, who is also Deal mayor, therefore welcomed the news that the government is providing laptops for children without them at home.

Pupils will be graded by teacher assessment as GCSE and A-level exams are cancelled.

Laptops are now being sent directly to schools from the government whereas last summer they were first sent to Kent County Council before being distributed.

The council says, for example, it passed on 3,564 laptops and 520 4G routers to care leavers, children in care and young people with a social worker.

A total 477 devices and 255 routers went to Year 10 vulnerable young people in non-academy schools.

Home learning will also begin through programmes on television from next Monday.

The BBC is bringing together BBC Two, CBBC, the BBC Red Button and BBC iPlayer to ensure all children can access curriculum-based learning even if they don't have access to the internet.

For the latest coronavirus news and advice, click here.

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