Devices to be provided to digitally excluded learners

Learners in Powys who do not have access to an internet-connected device at home will be provided with one during the coronavirus pandemic, the county council has said.

Powys County Council has worked with schools across the county to identify digitally excluded learners and support their families who do not have suitable devices or wi-fi.

A ‘digitally excluded’ learner is defined as a student who does not have access to an appropriate internet-connected device to participate in online learning activities from home.

From today (Monday, May 4), pupils will be provided with a device so that they can continue their education at home. Parents will be provided with a day and time by their cluster high school for when they will be able to collect a repurposed school device.

The council has also requested 500 4G MiFi connectivity devices from the Welsh Government, which will be provided to families that do not have wi-fi at home when they become available.

Cllr Phyl Davies, Cabinet Member for Education and Property, said: “This is a unique and challenging time for everyone, particularly our children and young people whose lives have changed drastically following the closure of schools.

“The coronavirus pandemic has made learning from home necessary but we recognise that this presents challenges for many families across the county. We’ve identified a number of families who do not have access to a device at home or wi-fi and it’s important that we support these families by providing them with these devices that allows pupils to continue their education.

“Given the rural nature of our county, not everywhere will have a 4G signal. We appreciate that this may be an issue for families who live in the county where there is no 4G signal and may have to travel to a suitable, safe and local location that has a 4G signal to download schoolwork for their child to complete at home.

“Those families who feel that this is not possible, they should contact their school to discuss the best way to provide schoolwork for their child.”

Cllr Joy Jones, the council’s Anti-Poverty Champion, said: “There are many families in Powys who do not have a laptop or tablet or a wi-fi connection at home. I’m delighted that the council has worked with schools to provide a device for these families.”