More than £4m has been invested in Swansea’s schools to boost digital technology helping to improve online teaching and learning during the current pandemic.
In the last year 8,124 new devices including laptops, Chromebooks, iPads have been delivered to schools in the city and a further 1,866 are currently being prepared.
Another 2,000 devices are expected from suppliers in the coming months.
It means pupils who have been identified as digitally excluded due to a lack of a suitable device have been offered one during the crisis to help them work from home.
Despite the pandemic 80% of schools have also had new networks installed, with the remaining schools due to be completed by the end of March.
This provides all schools with an infrastructure that should serve them well for the next 10 years.
Since last March all secondary schools have also had brand new servers.
The money, which has come from the Welsh Government, has allowed schools to offer a wider range of teaching while they have been closed or while pupils have been isolating at home.
Swansea Council’s Cabinet Member for Education Improvement, Learning and Skills, Cllr Jennifer Raynor, said: “Before the pandemic began the Welsh Government announced a £100m investment to improve the digital infrastructure of schools in Wales and in the last two years more than £4m of that has been invested in Swansea.
“This investment to improve the skills of pupils and teachers and prepare for the new curriculum has taken on new significance in the last year with the challenges the coronavirus crisis has brought.
“I’d like to thank our colleagues in Welsh Government for their support and thank our own ICT and education departments for working so closely with schools during the pandemic to improve their digital infrastructure.”
Since last March Swansea Council has worked with the Welsh Government and schools to provide connectivity and devices for pupils at risk of digital exclusion and families have been asked on a number of occasions if they have any requirements.
All of the learners identified have been offered a device either from the school or from a central stock of devices that were purchased early last year.
In addition 500 MiFi devices have been loaned to learners that are digitally excluded due to little or no connectivity.
Cllr Raynor added: “If there are families that have no access to a suitable device then they should make this known to their school so they can be supported. Smartphones are not suitable devices for school work.
“We are aware that in some cases, where there is more than one child in the household, they are having to share a device. We know this far from ideal and we are highlighting this to ministers to see if there is anything further we can do.
“Ideally we want to see pupils back in school but with the new strain of the virus more infectious than the original and the high rate of cases in Wales it is not possible at this point.
“In the meantime our schools will continue to provide blended learning which can include a mix of live lessons, recorded lessons, work packs, electronic and live support and check-in sessions.
“I would like to thank parents, relatives and carers for supporting their children in accessing this and our teachers for their continued commitment to providing the best education possible in very challenging circumstances.”
(Lead image: August de Richelieu / Pexels.com)
Take a look inside this popular Swansea pub after its £279k makeover
Sketty foodbank welcomes donation from Amazon
Solar farm extension and new battery gives Morriston Hospital even more power and savings
Bridgend & Cowbridge Performing Arts students shine in West End Shaftesbury Theatre showcase
Swansea home care specialists set to create jobs with Cardiff expansion
Scarlets sign Swart from South African side Airlink Pumas
Inspiring future generations: Bridgend Primary school children given lesson on potential of green hydrogen in decarbonisation
Welsh farming and environment groups express shared budget concerns to First Minister
Final casting announced for Cinderella at Swansea’s Grand Theatre
What went wrong for Michael Duff at Swansea City and who are the contenders to take the managerial hot seat
Popular Swansea pub set for grand re-opening after £279,000 makeover
New light being shone on popular seafront promenade
Funding boost for Mumbles women’s fashion shop
Specsavers to invest more than £400,000 in new Mumbles store
Aldi Fforestfach celebrates grand opening with help from Paralympian
Castle Square transformation takes new step
Plans submitted for sustainable aviation fuel plant in Port Talbot
Free buses returning to Swansea for the festive period
Record medal haul for Welsh Martial Arts competitors at World Championships
Resolven teen charged with stabbing 16-year-old boy
Money7 days ago
Morriston receives banking hub following community request
Business5 days ago
New project to bring empty shop units back into use
First Cymru2 days ago
More buses and improved reliability promised as Swansea bus operator announces timetable changes
Business7 days ago
Revamped H Samuel shop shines bright in Swansea’s Quadrant Shopping Centre
Carmarthenshire7 days ago
Body found in search for missing Nantgaredig woman
South Wales Police5 days ago
Mount Pleasant shoplifter jailed after assaulting security guard
Bonymaen5 days ago
More homes developed in former council buildings in Swansea
Llanelli6 days ago
Llanelli politicians back alternative steel proposals as unions warn Tata’s current plans would mean closure of Trostre plant