Will free laptops boost grades and the economy?

A government minister has said trials of the Home Access Programme have boosted student grades and that educational tech boosts the economy.

student with laptop

Giving laptops and broadband to students of low income families can help boost grades and the economy too, a government minister has claimed.

Speaking at the BETT educational tech conference today in London, minister of state for schools and learning Vern Coaker defended the government's 300 million Home Access programme, which looks to get a laptop and broadband in the homes of all students.

The programme has been slammed by ISP TalkTalk, which noted the government is paying for broadband connections for low-income families at the same time its trying to introduce a tax on broadband lines.

"We have to remember students only spend 15 per cent of their time at school," he said, later adding: "Denying them that tech at home can have a serious effect on their attainment."

Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement - Article continues below

He claimed an "impressive" 12,000-family trial of the Home Access Programme lead to a two grade improvement on GCSEs for participating students, after they increased their study time by an average of an hour per week over students who already had a laptops.

Coaker noted there would be three million more science, math and tech jobs by 2017, saying that students would need high tech tools to be ready for the workforce.

"I believe this has to start in our schools. We need to prepare our future workforce for our future workplace," Coaker said.

Important for industry, too

Supporting the educational technology sector could boost the UK economy, Coaker added.

"Technology is becoming an industry and one that our economy relies upon," Coaker said, describing companies as "more than just suppliers," but as stakeholders in educational development.

Advertisement - Article continues below

"From a government prospective, the high investment we have made over past decade has been both a success in supporting educational improvement and supporting the industry, as is evident here at BETT."

Coaker claimed that educational exports were on the rise for the UK, with British companies exhibiting at the show contributing 250 million in exports, and employing 25,000 people.

Featured Resources

Report: The State of Software Security

This annual report explores important trends in software security

Download now

A fast guide to finding your cloud solution

One size doesn't fit all in the cloud, so how do you find the best option for your business?

Download now

Digitally perfecting the supply chain

How new technologies are being leveraged to transform the manufacturing supply chain

Download now

Small & Medium Business Trends Report

Insights from 2,000+ business owners and leaders worldwide

Download now



Amazon will pass on 2% digital tax to sellers

16 Jan 2020
Careers & training

UK universities recieve £110m to fund AI Masters and PhDs

21 Feb 2019

Most Popular


How to use Chromecast without Wi-Fi

5 Feb 2020

Coronavirus starts to take its toll on the tech industry

6 Feb 2020

The top ten password-cracking techniques used by hackers

10 Feb 2020
Microsoft Windows

Windows 7 bug blocks users from shutting down their PCs

10 Feb 2020