COVID-19 students online lessons during lockdown: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Information requested

1. What proportion of students had full access to online lessons during lockdown?
2. How did access to online lessons vary regionally?
3. How many students did not have access to full digital equipment to participate in online lessons?
4. What is the expected impact on education progress and catch up time from a year of lockdowns?


In relation to the above questions this is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested. 

We do hold information on the devices which have been purchased and distributed to learners by each local authority as a result of the Scottish Government’s £25m digital inclusion fund. However, it is worth noting that responsibility for identifying those in need, and for securing and distributing devices, sits with each local authority.

We do have some information which is related to the above questions although this will not fully answer all your queries, but I hope you will find it useful:

A further £45m flexible funding has been made available to local authorities in 2021, which can be used to secure additional devices or connectivity where there is still local demand (as well as recruit additional staff or to deliver wider family support measures).

At the outset of the pandemic a number of local authorities took action around digital inclusion and a number of pre-existing device rollout schemes, for example Glasgow City Council and Scottish Borders Council.

The most recent information we hold on the distribution of devices to learners who did not have access to full digital equipment for online learning can be found at: Investment in technology to assist with home schooling: FOI release - ( 

Finally, in relation to the final question, our Equity Audit report, published on 13 January 2021, outlined some of the expected impact of lockdown on education progression.

Under section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to give you information which is already reasonably accessible to you. However, for ease I have included the report: Equity Audit (

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

Back to top