You requested the following information:
- Please explain where these thousands of laptops and devices are being sourced.
- Likewise for the internet and broadband service provision.
- Please also explain how contracts for repair and maintenance are being procured and managed.
- Please also explain the detailed costs of this offer and how it is being funded.
- As of today, Saturday 1 October 2022, how many of Scotland's 705,000 school pupils have been provided with a laptop, Chromebook or tablet to use in school and at home, together with a free internet connection and technical support.
You also separately clarified that your request relates solely to the device for every child commitment and not the Connecting Scotland policy.
We are committed to ensuring that every school-aged child has access to a device and connectivity to support their learning by the end of this parliament in 2026. We reiterated this commitment in our Programme for Government 2022-23, published in September 2022.
Across 2,500 schools and 700,000 learners, this is a complex and ambitious commitment. In addition to providing access to devices, we also need to ensure schools’ digital infrastructure is sufficient for the devices to be utilised effectively. We are working with COSLA and local authorities to plan and deliver this programme.
Whilst our aim is to provide information wherever possible, this is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have some of the information you have requested, particularly in relation to how devices and connectivity are being procured, plans for repair and maintenance of devices and funding of the commitment. This is because final decisions have not yet been taken on policy and delivery models.
The Scottish Government provided over £25 million to local authorities in 2020/21 for devices as a result of the pandemic and the closure of school buildings. This resulted in over 72,000 pupils receiving a tablet or laptop to support their learning. The funding also provided 14,000 internet connections. This funding is ultimately separate to the device for every child commitment.
Councils have also continued to invest in technology in line with their own digital strategies and as of May 2022 indicated that in total, almost 280,000 devices have been, or are in the process of being, distributed to learners. This includes the 72,000 devices procured as a result of Scottish Government funding. Detailed information on procurement, deployment and management of these devices is held by individual local authorities themselves.
The Capital Spending Review for 2023/24 – 2025/26 published in May 2022, included a commitment of £140 million to support the roll out of digital devices to school pupils and improvements to school infrastructure.
You may wish to contact local authorities directly if you have further enquiries regarding their individual digital strategies. Contact details for all local authorities in Scotland can be found on the COSLA website at this link - www.cosla.gov.uk/councils.
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
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