Free computers and broadband for 270,000 families

New scheme to help low income families in England to be announced today

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Today, the Prime Minister Gordon Brown and schools secretary Ed Balls will announce the roll out of a new scheme that will see 270,000 low-income families received a free computer and broadband access.

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Families with children entitled to free school meals, who are in years 3 -9, will be eligible if they meet strict criteria. Families will be able to apply for a Home Access grant so they can buy a computer and broadband connection from a supplier that’s approved.

The roll out comes after the programme was successfully piloted in Oldham and Suffolk. In the pilots, 81% of parents felt their involvement in their child’s learning increased. Also, the children involved spent an hour more each week learning online, compared to classmates who already had the internet at home. A recent study from the Institute of Fiscal studies showed having a home computer could help lead to a two grade improvement in one subject at GCSE, too.

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Today, the Prime Minister said, “I believe everyone should benefit from new advances in technology. It’s right that we break down any barriers to social mobility in order to give more children and families the opportunity to complete coursework, conduct research and apply for jobs online.”

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