Free computers for youngsters

PUBLISHED: 14:02 23 January 2010 | UPDATED: 11:36 25 May 2010

LUCKY youngsters across North Somerset could soon have a free computer with Internet access.

LUCKY youngsters across North Somerset could soon have a free computer with Internet access.

The Government scheme has been rolled out to thousands this week in the hope that the educational gap between rich and poor be narrowed.

North Somerset parents can now ring to request an application form for a Home Access grant for pupils in years three to nine.

If they meet strict eligibility criteria, similar to that for free school meals, they will then receive a pre-loaded debit card to spend on one Home Access computer and one broadband connection per family a year from a list of approved suppliers.

The Government says the scheme aims to close the digital and educational divide between rich and poor and help keep parents in touch with their child's progress.

Backwell School deputy headteacher Emma Yates said: "This is a good scheme.

"It's important that there is use of the online resources for students on the school website.

"Pupils can access work from home that teachers have put online for them.

"It will also have an impact on the way parents can keep an eye on their child's progress.

"By using the Internet they will have the opportunity to see how pupils are getting on."

For an application form for a Home Access grant parents need to call a helpline set up especially for the scheme. They can also call the department for children, schools and families for more details.

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