THOUSANDS of laptops are being distributed across Essex to help children in lockdown with their lessons.

About 3,000 iPads, Chromebooks and laptops will have been distributed to schools across the county for them to give to families in need.

The scheme, launched last autumn, saw 500 devices delivered before Christmas to colleges across Essex and to schools in Basildon, which had to move to online learning because of the sharp rise of Covid-19 cases.

A further 2,500 devices are going out to secondary schools across the county this month.

Essex County Council is also working with primary schools to find out how many younger children are without online access.

An initial 100 iPads are ready to meet urgent requirements, some of which have already gone out in Tendring district.

This initiative builds on a Government scheme, launched last summer, which provided 2,500 devices for the most vulnerable children in Year 10 at local authority-maintained schools and care settings in Essex.

It comes as concerns are raised children are falling behind because they do not have access to technology to allow them to learn online.

Pupils at Kirby Primary School have received electronic devices through the Government scheme and thanks to donations from the community.

Headteacher Charlotte Booth-Rylett said: “The inequality in resources has become horribly apparent in our community. We discovered some large families with four or five children were trying to manage online learning using two mobile telephones and limited Wi-Fi.

“This simply isn’t acceptable. We cannot stand by and watch our children fail to thrive due to their circumstantial disadvantage.

“The children are dedicated to their learning and we know they are engaged. Parents are keen to make the most of live lessons, recorded lessons and high quality resources the school is offering.”