The government’s delivery of laptops to England’s poorest pupils has slowed for a third week running – with 30 per cent fewer devices distributed last week.
According to data released by the Department for Education (DfE) today, 51,676 laptops were dispatched to schools between January 24 and 31 – down from 74,489 the previous week.
The latest delivery means 927,689 of the 1.3 million devices promised by the government have been sent out as of Sunday. The DfE has now sent out 365,268 devices since the partial closure of schools was announced on January 4.
However there are still 372,311 of the devices promised by the government left to be dispatched.
The latest data shows pace of the rollout has dropped since the start of term, with laptop delivery around a third of what it had been at the start of the year.
Between January 4 and 11, the DfE dispatched around 140,000 laptops to help schools meet the new requirements for online learning during the third national lockdown.
The government has been reluctant to set a date for when all the laptops will be delivered, however if it were to deliver at the same rate as last week it would take another 7 weeks to meet its quota.
Schools Week analysis last week estimated pupils in need would receive their devices until the week ending Sunday, March 7.
However, due to the drop in laptops being sent out, the revised estimate would push the date back to March 21.
A Sutton Trust study published last month found 7 per cent of state schools had only been able to supply, at best, half their pupils with laptops, with two thirds of senior leaders having to “source IT equipment for disadvantaged pupils themselves”.
It’s left some schools taking matters into their own hands. Colebourne Primary School, in Birmingham, for instance, has entered a £130,000 three-year leasing deal to supply 300 iPads as it was the “only option” to ensure all pupils had a device.