Minister: Home laptop worth two GCSE grades

Government Minister Vernon Coaker claims that having access to a laptop in the home can boost children’s GCSE scores by two grades.

Minister: Home laptop worth two GCSE grades

Opening the BETT education show at London’s Olympia, Coaker used his speech to trumpet the Government’s plans to provide 270,000 free laptops to low-income families, which were announced earlier this week.

Denying children access to technology at home can have a seriously detrimental effect on attainment

Coaker said that giving every child access to a computer in school was no longer enough. “Children only spend 15% of their time at school,” the Minister of state for schools and learners stated. “When we talk about technology education, we have to think of its place in the home as well as in schools.”

“Denying them access to technology at home can have a seriously detrimental effect on attainment,” the Minister added. “Having a laptop at home can make a two grade difference at GCSEs.”

Coaker claimed that positive results from pilot schemes to provide free laptops to families in Oldham and Sussex had encouraged the Government to expand the Home Access scheme nationwide. “On average, a child spent one hour more on learning [at home with a free laptop],” he said.

Coaker said it was also vital for schools to continue investing in the latest technology to help engage pupils and meet demand for future jobs. “We need to be able to prepare the future workforce for the future workplace,” the Minister said, adding that three million science-related jobs will become available by 2017. “We cannot allow students to be disengaged from important subjects such as science.”

The Minister’s comments follow stinging criticism of the free laptop scheme from leading ISP TalkTalk. The broadband provider claimed the Government scheme was inconsistent with plans to pay for next-generation broadband with a £6-per-year landline levy and a copyright clampdown, claiming that the “additional burden could lead to 600,000 financially stretched families being forced to give up their broadband connections.”

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