On Monday 26th October Lord Carrington asked the Government “what assessment they have made of the impact of the COVID-19 catch-up premium on disadvantaged pupils.” The Bishop of Durham asked a further question:
The Lord Bishop of Durham [V]: My Lords, I declare my interests as set out in the register. I welcome the Government’s ongoing support of pupils through the catch-up premium and encourage the Minister to continue to give attention to disadvantaged pupils, who require significantly greater support than the average pupil. Given the specific difficulties relating to digital access for remote learning, can the Minister explain why access to computers for home use appears to have been drastically reduced just as schools have been legally required to provide online learning for those who have to stay at home?
Baroness Berridge (Con): My Lords, the number of laptops made available was 250,000 and it is now over 300,000, so the number has increased. Over 100,000 of those have been delivered. The allocation is now responding to the data so that disadvantaged students who do not have a laptop have access to one. However, we need to prioritise disadvantaged students who do not have a laptop, are currently not in education and who are self-isolating at home. We are responding to the data; that describes about 4% to 5% of secondary school pupils and 12% of primary. We have to get those laptops, and that is why these changes have been made to get them to pupils who need them today.