Senior Councillors and local MPs call for Secretary of State to support infant schools with devices for remote learning
Politicians across Barking and Dagenham have written to the Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson MP, urging him to reconsider his decision to exclude infant schools from the scheme which allocates devices for remote learning.
In a letter signed by the Leader of the Council, Cllr Darren Rodwell, Cabinet Member for Educational Attainment and School Improvement, Cllr Evelyn Carpenter and both local MPs, Rt Hon Dame Margaret Hodge MP and Jon Cruddas MP who represent Barking and Dagenham and Rainham respectively, the borough’s representatives warn that the government scheme discriminates against the most disadvantaged pupils and demand urgent intervention.
They wrote: "Our infant schools need government devices for remote learning: their budgets are stretched, and they do not have the spare resources to fund the devices from their own funds.
"Yet again, a Government scheme discriminates against the most disadvantaged pupils. The scheme will prevent our youngest pupils in Barking and Dagenham from accessing learning. Schools are anxious that their young pupils will fall behind in their learning at a crucial time in their development."
Councillor Rodwell, Leader of the Council, said: “It’s not fair that our youngest children aren’t receiving the devices they need to let them use the fantastic online resources provided by schools.
“No child should have to do their schoolwork on their parent’s phone, or worse not at all.
“The Secretary of State needs to act now or risk the most disadvantaged kids falling behind.”
Councillor Carpenter commented: "It is vital for children in our infant schools to be able to continue to access learning and have communication with their school community during lockdown.
"I urge the Government to change the policy to include an allocation of devices for infant schools to protect the wellbeing and education of our youngest pupils during this challenging time."