Councils opt-out of laptop scheme after Scottish Government accused of leaving pupils 'high and dry'

The £9m scheme was dogged by problems after the laptops were left in storage for months.
Laptops were sent to schools across ScotlandLaptops were sent to schools across Scotland
Laptops were sent to schools across Scotland

A total of 14 councils including the capital decided to opt-out of a government scheme designed to deliver 25,000 laptops to disadvantaged children across Scotland.

The £9 million scheme has seen just under the target of 25,000 Chromebook laptops handed out to schools across the country, but came under criticism due to revelations the laptops spent months in storage.

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In July, it emerged none of the laptops had been handed out to vulnerable pupils since the announcement of the scheme in May.

Just under 25,000 laptops have now been allocated, but Scottish Conservative MSP Maurice Golden criticised the Scottish Government for not distributing them fairly and for leaving pupils “high and dry”.

Pupils in 14 council areas did not receive any laptops but will instead see their council’s receive cash to purchase different devices such as iPads if desired.

Mr Golden said: “When the SNP announced this scheme people reasonably expected the much-needed laptops would be distributed fairly across Scotland. In fact, thousands of pupils have been left high and dry.

“Everyone understood the need to close schools when it happened, but it’s clear the SNP government just hasn’t done enough in the interim.

“Thousands of laptops were left in storage, while entire council areas were left out the scheme altogether.

“That will have had irreparable education consequences for some of the country’s most vulnerable children.”

The Scottish Government said the Chromebooks were ordered as part of the first phase of a £30m investment in digital education.

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A spokesman said: “Every council was offered access to these laptops. Every council that asked for them, received them.

“We are investing £25 million to address digital exclusion in schools. Funding allocations for digital devices and connectivity solutions have now been made to all 32 local authorities, who are responsible for making arrangements to secure and distribute equipment to address local needs.

“In total, the programme is expected to deliver around 70,000 devices and 18,000 connectivity solutions for disadvantaged children and young people across Scotland.”

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