Disadvantaged children have been given computers and unlimited broadband by their schools to help learn from home during the coronavirus lockdown.

Families with disadvantaged Year 10 children were able to collect laptops and tablets from various schools to ensure they can learn from home.

The multi-academy trust BMAT, which runs a series of schools across Essex and east London, ensured that about 210 disadvantaged children were granted the technology needed.

This includes pupils from the Freshwaters Primary Academy in Harlow and the Epping St Johns’s Church of England School.

Richard Canning, BMAT chief information officer, said: “We know everyone’s home situation is different and that some children will not have continuous and reliable access to a device or to the internet. The government scheme is welcome, but it is small scale and could take weeks to come in, so we made the decision to act as soon as possible for our own children. We repurposed our own laptops and tablets, bought mobile internet connections and gave these to those who needed them the most.

“This is about equality of access; about helping everybody to smash through barriers to achieve success, regardless of their background or status.

“I am proud the Trust has shown such a strong social conscience. We just wanted to give our young people every opportunity possible.”

Mr Canning continued: “To make sure learning can continue as closely as possible to normal, we also bought laptops for our staff leaders.

“Not everyone has a laptop available at home and those responsible for developing lessons can continue with their work and are being supported to do so during this period of partial closure.”