Ilford North's Wes Streeting urges government to get every child online during Covid-19 pandemic

Wes Streeting MP, Ilford North.

Ilford North MP Wes Streeting has made five requests to education secretary Gavin Williamson as part of his campaign to get every child online during the Covid-19 pandemic. - Credit: London Portrait Photographer - DAV

Ilford North MP Wes Streeting has urged the government to get every child online during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The shadow minister for schools has continued his education crusade by setting out five requests in a letter to education secretary Gavin Williamson.

These include providing a device and internet access to every child who is currently going without, removal of data charges for zero-rating educational websites (alongside a reduction elsewhere), redeploying individuals to help with technical needs, and work with schools to ensure pupils receive guaranteed contact time with their teacher as part of their daily lessons. 

The same letter - co-written with the digital, science and technology shadow minister Chi Onwurah MP - reads: "The closure of schools has a disproportionately negative impact on those who are already disadvantaged and lack the resources for effective online study."

Lamenting the fact that there is still an estimated 1.22 million children across the UK without access to devices, Mr Streeting said the government must "urgently deliver a plan to get every child online and every school supported to deliver digital excellence".


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This number is coupled with the 7 per cent believed to only have internet access through a mobile device, a statistic which has influenced the requests made.

It was confirmed yesterday (January 6) that, in contrast with the previous lockdown, children without laptops are designated as vulnerable and can therefore continue going to school.

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Yet the pair believe this reality should not exist, and have demanded swift action to bridge this gap: "Ten months after the first cases of Covid-19 arrived in this country, the government's failure to deliver the digital resources that pupils need is damaging their educations and we cannot continue to let our young people down at this critical time in their lives."

Sign the petition to get every child online by visiting action.labour.org.uk/page/s/help-students-access-online-education

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