Despite the pandemic having brought the stark realities of the digital divide to the nation’s attention, and the roll-out of free laptops, the problem persists and risks getting worse. Pete Henshaw reports

The government’s free laptop programme – launched at the height of the first lockdown as hundreds of thousands of students struggled to access remote learning – is approaching 1.7 million devices delivered.

However, new polling suggests that huge problems with the digital divide continue to blight the education of young people.
According to the research – which involved more than 5,000 teachers, including 3,400 secondary colleagues – only two per cent of teachers working in schools in the most disadvantaged areas say that all their students have adequate access to devices and internet at home.

This compares to six per cent of teachers in all schools and 10 per cent of teachers in the most affluent areas. Furthermore, two-thirds of headteachers told the research that they do not have enough funding to address the digital divide in their school communities.

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