Wales ‘led the way’ in providing IT and online learning to pupils at home throughout pandemic
The way the Welsh Government provided laptops and wi-fi devices to address the lack of access to online learning caused by the coronavirus pandemic has been described as ‘commendable’ in an independent report published recently (Friday, October 9).
The new report, by the Education Policy Institute (EPI), also says the Welsh Government was successful in ensuring that families eligible for free school meals had ‘access to timely and appropriate support’.
The Education policy responses across the UK to the pandemic report is the first detailed analysis comparing how the governments of each of the UK nations supported pupils’ education during the period of closures to schools this year.
In a section looking into supporting online learning at home, the report states that, in contrast to other UK nations, the Welsh Government was able to draw on ‘well-established infrastructure to act quickly following the closures’.
"Policymakers and schools were able to re-purpose existing stocks of laptops and send internet routers to disadvantaged learners by the end of May.
"The delivery of laptops and internet routers came later in England, as new procurement systems were needed. The majority of equipment was delivered by the end of June…In Scotland and Northern Ireland, the response was far slower. Laptop and internet delivery in these countries was not even complete by the end of the school year, leaving poorer pupils to wait several months to access online learning materials."
The report goes on to cover free school meals in which it recently said:
"Scottish and Welsh responses proved more effective as they were delivered through local authorities, used existing infrastructure and were flexible according to families’ needs.
"On extending support to those who receive free school meals into the summer, Wales was the only country to give certainty to families by announcing the policy very early on, in April."
Education Minister Kirsty Williams recently said:
This report makes for interesting reading; as I’ve said before, there was no guide left on how to run an education system during a pandemic.
Clearly there is plenty of room for improvement for all governments across the UK. That is why it is so helpful to have evidence collated like this – devolution means we are all able to learn from each other to deliver for our citizens.
Ensuring that no child or family was left behind as a result of this crisis remains a key priority for the Welsh Government, so it particularly encouraging to see the EPI highlight our work in response to providing free school meals and supporting online learning.
Latest News from
Welsh Government support helping Caerphilly business relocate and safeguard jobs23/09/2021 09:10:00
Welsh Government support is helping a Caerphilly county borough-based business to future proof its operations by relocating and safeguarding jobs, Economy Minister Vaughan Gething has announced.
Veteran suicide figures to be recorded for the first time22/09/2021 14:31:00
A new method for recording veteran suicides in England and Wales has been announced today by the government.
Planning and historic environment law to be simplified as part of Welsh Government programme to make law more accessible22/09/2021 10:15:00
Mick Antoniw, the Welsh Government’s Counsel General, has launched a new programme to improve the accessibility of Welsh law.
Rural Affairs Minister sets out timeline for future farm support21/09/2021 16:15:00
Rural Affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths has outlined the next steps to introduce a new system of farm support which will reward farmers who take action to respond to the climate emergency and reverse the decline of biodiversity.
Substantial funding made available as key agricultural schemes extended21/09/2021 14:10:00
More than £66 million is being made available by the Welsh Government to continue delivering positive environmental outcomes for Wales, a key part of maximising the protective power of nature through farming.
Cambrian Mountains Lamb awarded UK GI Status21/09/2021 11:25:00
Cambrian Mountains Lamb is the second new Welsh product to be awarded the highly sought after UK Geographical Indication (UK GI) status, hot on the heels of Gower Salt Marsh Lamb which won the accolade last month.
Wales begins countdown to end the physical punishment of children20/09/2021 12:10:00
With six months to go before a new law ending the physical punishment of children in Wales comes into force, more than £2.9m is being invested in parenting support.
Brilliant Basics delivering memorable experiences20/09/2021 11:10:00
The busy summer for Wales’ visitor economy has shown the crucial importance of tourism infrastructure in delivering a quality experience for visitors.
Chief Medical Officer encourages pregnant women to have COVID-19 vaccine20/09/2021 10:10:00
The Chief Medical Officer for Wales, Dr Frank Atherton is appealing to pregnant women to accept their COVID-19 vaccine when offered.