Thousands of laptops and tablets have been made available for disadvantaged children across Essex as they learn from home during the Covid pandemic. 

Union bosses have continued to raise concerns that some children have been “miserably let down” by the scheme, with the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) calling for more to be done. 

Data shows 726 laptops and tablets had been sent to Southend Council or directly to school’s in the area as of Sunday - four times the 149 reported on January 12. 

School’s under Essex County Council’s control had been sent 4,819 laptops and tablets. 
The figures do not include those allocated to academy trusts, as they are not maintained by the local authority.

Across England, around 1 million laptops and tablets have so far been distributed for disadvantaged young people during the pandemic by the Government.

Education secretary Gavin Williamson says that figure will rise to 1.3 million with a further 300,000 devices.

However, the Government has faced criticism over the scheme – a poll by NAHT of its members found nearly half had received fewer than 10% of the laptops and tablets requested.

Union general secretary Paul Whiteman said: “The Government’s attempts to provide devices and internet connections for all pupils who need them are still incomplete, even though we are more than nine months into the pandemic.”

Mr Williamson said: “I know that teachers, school staff and parents have continued to work collaboratively and immensely hard since the start of this term to help children to learn at home and we know it is absolutely vital that we get devices out to children who need them the most.

“We are committed to delivering those devices to support remote learning and I’m proud to see us pass over 800,000 devices issued to schools and councils through the pandemic, with nearly 240,000 of those issued since schools closed to most pupils this month.”