What the laptops scheme might cost

A shame there wasn’t slightly more information in the daily briefing today, I guess we will just have to wait for the details as the emerge this week.

Schools Week are saying the scheme will cover those with social workers, care leavers (although today’s Downing Street briefing said that Councils have been asked to make sure no one leaves care during the coronacrisis) and disadvantaged pupils in Y10 https://schoolsweek.co.uk/coronavirus-dfe-to-provide-laptops-for-disadvantaged-year-10s/

I wonder if Y10 FSM will be used as the indicator for eligibility? If that is the case, I have had a quick look at the latest statistical release from the DfE (https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/schools-pupils-and-their-characteristics-january-2019) which lists the number of 15 year olds known to be eligible for and claiming FSM to be 80k last year. If devices cost between £200 and £400, that’s a £16-£32m bill to DfE

Perhaps they might use schools’ existing knowledge of students’ home circumstances to assess how great the domestic need is for laptop/tablet and data dongle? That might reduce number needed but puts school staff in the unenviable position of having to decide about entitlement.

Then there will be concerns raised by schools and trusts who have already purchased devices en masse for their cohorts or for specific disadvantaged students. AET has reportedly committeed to £2m https://schoolsweek.co.uk/coronavirus-aet-to-spend-2m-on-laptops-as-others-call-for-tech-donations/

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