Computer “no longer an optional extra” for children

The Government has fleshed out its plans to ensure every child has access to a computer in the home, warning that PCs can no longer be regarded as “optional extras”.


The Schools Minister has announced a £30m package that will go towards two year-long pilot schemes in Oldham and Norfolk, which will see low-income families given grants for computer equipment and broadband access.

The Government has declined to put an exact figure on how much the grants will be worth, but it says it will cover the cost of a PC or laptop, basic software, broadband access for one year and three years of technical support.

Parents who want to buy a higher spec PC can top-up the grants with their own money.

The Schools Minister says children can no longer pass through our school system without access to a PC at home. “There has to be a culture where families see home access is as important as making sure their children have pen, paper and calculator at school,” says Jim Knight.

“The bottom line is that having home access to the internet or a computer is no longer an optional extra for school work – it is fast becoming essential.”

Approved PC suppliers

As part of the scheme, PC makers will be invited to submit equipment packages that will be tested for its “educational and technical quality” by the Government agency, Becta.

Equipment that wins approval from Becta will bear the “NextGenerationLearning@Home” logo. “If people go into a shop and see approved equipment, it should help families and students choose products that are suitable,” a spokesperson for Becta told PC Pro.

The spokesperson wouldn’t reveal how the company plans to test and certify PCs, but PC makers will be invited to apply for supplier status by the end of November.

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