back to article Brown offers free laptops to deprived UK schoolkids

Free laptops with broadband access will be dished out to more than a quarter of a million UK households to help kids from cash-strapped families do better in exams, said Prime Minister Gordon Brown yesterday. "We want every family to become a broadband family, and we want every home linked to a school. For those finding it …


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  1. Jimmy Floyd

    Backdoor Brown

    "For those finding it difficult to afford this..."

    ...we'll screw you in taxes to make up for my lack of fiscal savvy when I lived at No. 11, so you might as well take the laptop and sell it for drugs. God knows your kids will if you don't.

  2. Prag Fest


    "to help kids from cash-strapped families do better in exams"

    Not going to be used for pr0n and Facebook instead, not at all.

  3. jake Silver badge


    "Free laptops with broadband access will be dished out to more than a quarter of a million UK households to help kids from cash-strapped families do better in exams, said Prime Minister Gordon Brown yesterday."

    How in the hell can a laptop with broadband access help a kid do better in exams?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      A simplez

      Assists them to diminish their attention spans to the point where they can't remember the wrong answers!

  4. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Microsoft. Getting them addicted young

    But just think. It will be easier to post all those happy slapping moments on YouTube. Hurrah.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Complete waste of money

    I'm sick of seeing all these initiatives, as if waving a laptop at someone is going to increase their intelligence or improve their lives.

    Still not as bad as one intiative that gave internet access to drought stricken Peruvian farmers. I'm sure they didn't want a well digging and are now happily browsing for porn while their crops fail.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Have I just read 'Microsoft' in that article?

    I thought advertisement (including giving away your product )directed at children was banned in this country.

    1. The BigYin


      It should have been supplied with standards-compliant software and (as far as possible) free software. This would have reduced the cost and allowed many more bribes...err...laptops to be handed out.

      Quite example:

      Ubuntu (or similar)

      Firefox (or Opera, or Konqueror)

      OpenOffice (or ?)

      Done. No need to reinforce the defacto monopoly.

      1. Gulfie

        So now we're just left with the pre-election bribe...

        ... of a shiny new laptop brought to you by your Labour government. No way would you have got this under the Tories, no siree!

  7. Anonymous Coward

    Great... as a family that pays taxes, works hard (ahem), got an education through actually turning up for school and has no social life due to mortgage,nursery fee's, bills, taxes and minor things like buying food, can I have a free laptop and broadband?

    No, thought not.

    Kids, want free stuff.? Then don't bother working hard, just wait for your handouts...

  8. It wasnt me

    Call me cynical.....


    1>. These laptops will be on eBay, BNIB. Perhaps gordon should visit homes where they cant afford a laptop. I would suggest that if you can afford a 48 inch plasma, 40 fags, 2 crates of hoffmeister and 6 litres of white lightning a day, you can afford a laptop. And youll find that lot in every one of those homes.

    2>. Whats in it for MS ? Getting them wile theyre young maybe with immersive advertising, feeding them MS crack whilst they dont know what theyre doing.

    Well done Gordon. Youre a genius. Or an idiot.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Let's face it

      We know he's an idiot. Look at all the documentary evidence! Christ it's like watching a Norman Wisdom film! Except that Norman always had a heart of gold. Though what Gordon's is made of is tending to leech out a bit golden now in all this snow.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Very laudable but...

    ... how many of these laptops will be found down the local pawn shop inside a month?

  10. Richard Jukes

    panem et circenses

    Yet more bread and games for the plebs from our glorious leader.

  11. Michael

    child at 19

    sorry but they really are taking the piss. A child is up to 16. I can sometimes accept the up to 18 as you can't vote or drink I can see the justification on the grounds that you aren't treated by law like an adult in these situations. But 19? I was at Uni had a job and busily getting completely pissed every pay day at 17.

    How about just making it possible for people to be able to afford these things for themselves. Having a shiny new computer and broadband access at home isn't much use if you can't afford to turn them on.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So long as they don't fileshare

    How ironic it would be if they lost their Home Access due to 'illegal' filesharing activities. I wonder how broadband can be deemed a non-essential utility and then be deemed worth £300 million to dish out to poorer families.

    I'm not saying I disapprove of the plan, just think the message is a little mixed.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Home Access

    It is actually well put together.

    I work for one of the partners from the trial and we are now part of the main as well.

    All the machines come with Office or Open Office. They come with parental controls, AV, and advanced accessability suites. Everything a child needs.

    1. The BigYin


      A gubbermint IT project that went well? Surely you jest?

      There should have been no MS products on their (unless they were the sole maker of something and I find that difficult to believe).

      A child needs an education - and that comes from books. Not from a PC. Even IT pros don't use PCs to learn (PCs are for doing, or testing out what was learnt from a book), just ask O'Reilly et al.

      So, in a nutshell, these laptops are not needed. They are just a bribe before the election.

    2. The Indomitable Gall

      Glad to hear it...

      I'm glad to hear the package is good, but since the initial planning stages, there's been a revolution in Small Cheap Computing. The pilot should be reconsidered as a proof of concept, and the nationwide rollout should be based on new SCC/netbook/nettop technology. Preferably with HDMI so that we can go back to the old days of using a single screen as both the TV and computer monitor.

  14. JWS
    Thumb Down


    What a total waste of money! Every child who goes to school has superb access to IT gear so why do we, the tax payer, have to pay for them to have access at home? They'll only use it to use Facebook or look at porn anyway!

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    no title

  16. Anonymous Coward


    Details? What kind of BB contracts will be deemed necessary to the underprivileged kiddies, a piddly 2GB/mo ADSL2+ (if so what happens when little johnny watches ceebeebies on iPlayer and uses up the allowance in a day?)? 20Meg Cable?

    Will nanny state have nanny filters on said laptops to prevent the interwebs corrupting little Johnny or being stolen by peadobear?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The only problem is

    It creates a kind of reverse of the actual problem.

    When my kids were in 6th form, their mates whose parents didn't work got all kinds of things paid for by the state, including a new top of the range PC. They even got paid to turn up at school (about £30 a week if I remember rightly).

    My kids, however, got no pc, and no £30 a week because the combined family income was just greater than the threshold and it was assumed I could afford to pay each of my 4 children £30 a week myself (yeah right! I didn't have £30 a week left to spend on anything when the bills were paid).

    So the kids of those parents who choose to try to make a decent living for themselves, and not just take from the state will become disadvantaged compared to those who don't.

    It's a laudable aim but I think it will just result in a different unfairness.

    1. Gary F

      Work your socks off and get nothing

      I'm slightly over the threshold for various state handouts and I work my socks off 6 days a week. The perks of refusing to take a job or to go part-time seem very tempting and I'm sure I'd be in better health if I didn't have to work so hard, but I couldn't bare to be a bone idle scrounger living off handouts. Yet I must pay taxes towards the multi-billion pound benefits and perks rewarded (yes, they work like rewards) to people who at the end of the day have all the electronic goods for free that I have to work my fingers to the bone for. And like the poster above I'm very lucky to have £30 a week left over for myself. It really doesn't pay to work when you could just do nothing and get everything handed to you. And I wouldn't even have to buy my kids a laptop. Yay! Oh to be classed as poor!

  18. Martin Chandler
    Paris Hilton

    Probably not good at maths but....

    How can a project offering 270000 homes laptops or broadband only cost £300m ? If true, I think they need to share their secret with the OLPC project.

    1. The BigYin


      ...It's about £1,100 per laptop.

      If it is a base-spec lappy it should cost around £350 (probably less as a bulk-order, so let's say £250)

      This leaves about £850.

      From that remove the broadband cost (circa £35 per month, but this is a bulk let's say £25 per month). That's £300 per year

      This leave £550

      From that, let's remove costs not already covered (e.g dispatch etc - say £50)

      This leaves £500 clear profit PER LAPTOP.

      What could that be for? Well bonuses to the directors of the companies involved. I wonder how many of them are MPs, spouses of MPs, relatives of MPs or good friends of MPs.

      So not only is is a blatant bribe, but it is a money grabbing scheme by MPs and their cronies.

      Labour disgust me.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        My mate works for one of these companies, they provide 3 years of support on top of all that, and the broadband is for 2 or 3 years, i cant remeber what he said.

        1. The BigYin

          It's probably under PFI

          "We can't provide the service for the price we agreed (without having to cut our bonuses), bung us more money."

          And they will. The ridiculous profits will stand and the fact remains these laptops are not required and are nothing more than a bribe.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Why £35 pm for BB?

        For much of the country you can get it for about £7 pm and plenty fast enough too.

  19. Tony S
    Thumb Down

    left hand, right hand

    So they they are giving out laptops with one hand to raise "digital awareness"- but then cut the higher education budget with the other hand.

    That makes sense if you are trying to dumb down a population. After all, you wouldn't want an educated population being able to think for themselves - they might question what you are doing.

  20. dreadful scathe

    the government is clearly on drugs

    terrible idea - even with a free laptop, broadband costs money, then there's support, and if the laptop runs windows - you can expect them to be next to useless after a few months of steering through the sea of malware and viruses that is the internet to the uninitiated. A far better idea would be more machines within schools and libraries and out of hours access and tutoring.

    Of course the other issue is - the government thinks broadband is very important for everyone to have, even going so far as to say it was "as important as electricity" - yet they are still prepared to get behind a "three strikes and you are out" anti-piracy rule to cut people off.

    Question for you all - is a family who can not afford a computer or broadband and manage to get one for nothing under this scheme, more or less likely to always pay for downloads ?

  21. irish donkey
    Thumb Down

    Hmmm computers for the great unwashed

    Available to everybody else next week from the Cash Convertors.

    And I'll bet these cost the UK taxpayer a lot more than $100.

  22. 0laf

    What's the point if they can't read and write

    Some nice new laptops appearing soon on Ebay I think.

  23. Number6

    Sorry, you can't have one

    Topical in view of yesterday's CSF Bill debate in Parliament, with the government talking about more support for home education, yet explicitly denying them the opportunity to participate in this scheme if they would otherwise qualify. The small print at the bottom specifically states that home educated children do not qualify.

  24. Anonymous Coward

    More dickhead policies from the scottish idiot

    > provide a link for families to access their children's school progress reports on attainment, behaviour and other issues.

    Isn't that what parent-teacher meetings are for? This is just NuLabour trying to buy pre-election votes by giving free toys to kids. They'd be better off encouraging schools to have open days, get the parents down to meet the teachers, and name&shame those parents who abdicate that most basic of responsibilties: educating their children.

    And laptops, for chrissake! Desktops are cheaper, more repairable, last longer, and can be upgraded instead of being scrapped when they don't run the latest version of WIndows.

    Surely this must contravene some law on votebuying?

  25. gerryg

    circular reasoning problem

    This initiaitive is reminiscent of why iPlayer originally only supported MS Windows, "because there's no demand for alternatives" aka "because we reinforce the need to have MS Windows people will continue to assume that there is no point considering alternatives" thus proving the original assertion.

    People like me will say "of course if you were to encourage platform neutrality, innovation, price reduction through competition and so forth or invest in some of the ARM based stuff that looks like it's going to get interesting" (and the IP is still sort of UK-ish)

    Likely, vested interest will jump in and say "LOTD ROFLMAO 1%, fanboi" or something.

    As long as the public sector seems to reinforce computing == Microsoft then the opportunity to benefit through competition is reduced as is the opportunity to discover alternatives.

  26. Dave Bell

    How will they use them

    From what I've seen of kids leaving school, the low performers are going to need a lot of help to be able to use this free laptop.

    So they get a lot of help, do better in the exams, and, lo and behold, this computer scheme gets the credit.

  27. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    A Party of Empty Dreams and Ruinous Spin?

    Err ..... is Labour stealing somebody else's clothes and trying to look good whenever they have run out of ideas and are starved of talent, because can one not go along to any common or garden high street mobile telephone shop and pick up a free laptop with a tailored broadband subscription ..... just as Labour are offering as if new?

    And if one cannot afford a laptop and/or are very new to the wonderful and weird and wacky worlds of the Internet, how are you going to pay for all the extras on the broadband connection, which will not be free, as you are bombarded with all manner of tempting earthly and pornographic delight?

  28. Bobajobbob

    Another dumb idea from the dumbest man in Britain

    Great so now my taxes go towards subsiding pRon for chavs. How many of these machine will turn up on ebay the very next day I wonder? When will this god awful government realise that to value something you have to earn it?

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    @ac 10:34GTM

    Nice Misco website. Just shows that for every well-meaning but shite initiative, at least one company will take perfect advantage of it to put up utter shite over-priced last years crap and sell it at a premium price.


  30. raving angry loony

    get them early

    How nice. Get them early, just like all drugs that are bad for you.

    I wonder how much these "free" computers are going to cost at upgrade time? Is it part of the contract that they can't install another O/S once they're distributed? I'd be curious to find out. I'm curious to see if El Reg is curious to find out too.

    Or maybe I'm just too cynical. Then again, Microsoft is involved. Is it possible to be too cynical after having dealt with, fought against, and generally been beaten up by that company for 29 years?

  31. Clarissa

    There goes...

    ... the second-hand market. Or do they reckon they can stop the less scrupulous families from selling it on eBay, down the market, using it to pay their dealer/loan shark etc?

  32. Anonymous Coward

    How much...?

    Was pondering how a cheap laptop and one year's broadband could possibly add up to eleven hundred quid (especially when considering the quantity discount that would apply), but then noticed RM's name mentioned in the last paragraph.

  33. MJI Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    More money wasted

    More of our money being wasted, isn't there a bigger priority like paying back the HUGE debts we now have.

  34. Anonymous Coward

    a title

    On the plus side, if these little feckwits get free computers maybe they wouldn't be arsed to go steal mine. Or if they do maybe I'll be able to pick a cheap replacement up from 'Dosh Converters' where they hocked it for dope money.

    Win win for Afghanistan's premier product!.

    That is if it's a real policy and not a Vote for gordon phoney baloney hot air policy.....

  35. Dogbyte
    Thumb Down

    Call me cynical...

    Providing a computer and broadband is very nice, but it's no substitute for providing a decent education - or decent parenting for that matter.

  36. PsychicMonkey

    My parents

    kept track of my school progress with this amazing thing called school reports.....

    who wants to bet that this "free" laptop will be sold straight away, it certainly won't be used for the intended use.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    how about

    he spend 300m pounds on paying layabouts to shuvle snow off of the pavements?

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Computers for school work

    My kids school is just being rebuilt and as part of that they announced that they were issuing laptops to all the kids for use in school and for access to the school from home. The reality is that we received a letter informing us that we will need to pay for the Netbook (no it's not a laptop) and not only that it is running windoze. That is the last thing I want to be contributing money to.

    I wonder how free the laptops are that Gordon is using as an electioneering ploy...

    Nice to see that Microsoft are using some of their advertising money to ensure that there is no choice in schools.

    It also begs the question if these free broadband connections are going to be subject to the rural broadband tax.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not just MS

      Apple do the same as well, my father was a headmaster and his last two schools were exclusively Mac. At least MS is what you'll be using at work, assuming you don't end up as a journo or typogropher.

  39. Havin_it


    There's a couple in Cape Wrath who've only just been reunited after being separated by ice before Christmas - if their reunion is a, er, "productive" one I look forward to their applying to the scheme in a few years' time. Enjoy laying that fibre over several miles of MoD firing range, BT lads!

  40. Piro Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Oh, great

    So that's 270,000 laptops about to pop up on ebay, or filled with spyware and porn in 20 minutes flat (or both).

    This is supposed to clearly reduce inequality, but handing out laptops piecemeal based on certain criteria only really increases inequality - "why did you get a laptop, and why didn't I?" and so on. It's pretty short sighted and a waste of money

  41. Mark Broadhurst

    Consolation prize?

    Ahhh well you have failed at everything and you have little hope for the future, here have a laptop.

    All better now good figure out how to get on the dole.

  42. This post has been deleted by its author

  43. anon01789

    Brown offers free laptops to deprived UK schoolkids

    why can't these families learn the value of hard work an/ or study?

    Alan sugar, for example did not get where he is by relieing on hand outs.

    won't this kind of thing just disuade people from wash my mouth out doing well at school.

    who is going to bother being a plumber, chargeing £50 to replace a washer when our tax is just spoon fed to them

  44. Jacqui

    Pork varrel

    Like every other government scam^W^W^Wcheme its just a way to distribute the pork barrel.

  45. frank ly


    " help kids from cash-strapped families do better in exams,..."

    When I was a kid, I didn't have access to a computer and my family were cash-strapped, but I did very well in my exams. So, how does that work?

    "...we want every home linked to a school."

    I could throw a network cable over the fence to the infants school adjoining the back of my property, but I don't see what purpose that would serve and who it would benefit. (Having said that, I'm sure the kids would enjoy access to my large collection of music, films and cartoon series but they'd have to accept bandwidth throttling from my end).

    Has any of this been thought through?

    1. David 105

      @frank ly

      "Has any of this been thought through?"

      Probably better than you might imagine, but not in the way you might imagine. It's been thought through from the angle of "shit, we're going to get voted out in 6 months, our core voters are deserting us in droves, how do we win them back? I know, they're stupid and poor, they can't understand the financial situation, let's give them a free laptop to help keep them even more stupid. Then they'll be happy that GordoMan has given them something and they'll vote him back in again"

  46. Anonymous Coward

    scroungers ahoy!

    "Brown said the scheme - which has already been piloted in Oldham and Suffolk - would provide a link for families to access their children's school progress reports on attainment, behaviour and other issues."

    should be corrected to:

    "would provide a link for families' children to access MSN, zone out on FaceBook / MySpace and watch videos of happy slapping on YouTube"

    This is basically a "laps for chavs" scheme - if they are stupid enough to deploy it, it should gi via a pre-filtered web proxy to block waste of bandwidth by those who are too stupid to realise they shouldnt be reproducing.

  47. Hugh G. Rection

    Call me a cynic

    but I expect a sharp increase in the number of laptops for sale on eBay. There may also be a related short-term spike in the profits of pubs in deprived areas.

  48. N2

    I wanna buy your vote?

    So Gordon Clown gets 250,000 votes in the next election, at a cost of around £1200 per house hold, Ive no doubt some will end up on Flea Bay.

    Wonderful way to spend the nations overdraft.

  49. Mattyod

    Why laptops?

    Surely it would be much more cost efficient to provide desk tops?

  50. Anonymous Coward

    title unavailble due to funding

    looks like those who are on benefits are going to be getting yet more given to them.

    things like this happen and i wonder why i bother with work

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lesson number 1...

    How to fix them when they go wrong.

    Either that, or how to wipe them before handing them over to PC Un-firled or else have your drug dealings, knife crime and videos of happy slapping discovered.

  52. James Charlton

    The three r's

    Since when did a laptop become essential to teach the three r's. Reading 'riting and 'rithmatic. Also I have seen my daughters school website it looks like it was designed 5 years ago and the teaching tools on it are also laughable.

    Surely its easier to teach a kid morales and get them to go to school. This is where the issues may be for under priviledge kids. They are not being taught morales. This is the underlying failure with society today. Its nothing to do with technology.

    Other question I have is when these laptops break or the software corrupts who is going to fix them ? More cost to the tax payer im sure. Id love a free laptop for my daughetr as mine is currently with PC world where it has been for 3 months as its still not repaired !

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      You mean that Venezuelan commie? Wrong Labour party, mister!

  53. Anonymous Coward

    Mobile broadband only / cheap laptop / longterm investment plans?

    I read here that ISPs will not benefit from this scheme, it appears only mobile broadband is to be available.

    Some papers are running pictures of children using nice laptops that look a bit like MacBook Pros, it would appear the price limit is £400 including all service and support - that's going to be a naff laptop to use all day in school, and most of the night on Facebook.

    Lots of £400 laptops will get broken, others will stop working with wear and tear, others will live long and happy 3-4 year lives.

    What happens after the 3-4 year lifespan is up? Will students suddenly stop needing the laptop? or are we committing to a longterm scheme of purchasing laptop replacements?

    Are these special laptops that last the full length of the child's school life?

    How is remote access to the school to be provided?

    Most schools have not implemented Moodle or Blackboard, most have little idea what a Citrix is or why they would want one.

    Money is rarely available for consultants, training, or in many cases implementation of Citrix.

    Moodle and Blackboard require changes in the way teaching staff work, and a commitment from senior management that they are unlikely to have / know they need without external IT knowledge and leadership.

    How does this relate to IT provision in schools?

    If the requirement that children all have laptops is so great that those from 'poor' families must have government provided laptops, shouldn't 'rich' or 'middle class' children also require a similar or better laptop?

    If all children must have laptops why are schools aiming for between a 4/1 or 3/1 computer ratio. Would it not be better if laptops came with children in the morning and when home in the evening?

    Schools would have less theft, computers would be part of every child's daily routine, and focus could be put on countywide provision of manage application / software service farms provided via existing JANET or county networks.

    All children having laptops is a step forward, paying for other people's children's laptops with my taxes I'm not so happy about - but this is one of the more useful way to spend them.

    A joined up IT policy in schools would be good though.

  54. The BigYin

    Beggars belief

    They do not need laptops you thundering moron (well, not unless they are doing an IT-related subject, and even then...)

    They need books.

    They need encouragement.

    And, most importantly, they need the will to learn.

    If I (and I am sure most people reading this) can go through college and uni (pretty much) without a PC and certainly without an internet connection and still do well with nothing more than a few books and a bit of drive, then pretty much any idiot can.

    This laptop scheme is try a ploy to buy votes. Books is where it is at, where is always was at and were it will continue to be at for quite some time. Books, books, books, reading and graft. That's it. Nothing fancy.

    If they are so poor, who is going to pay for their net connection? Who will pay for repairs? For media? For software? For...for...for... I will. We will. The hard-working taxpayers once more. Wasn't bailing out the banks and paying all those bonuses last year to incompetent bankers enough?

    Save the money, hire a few more teachers, save the playing fields and stop trying to bribe the public!

  55. Adam 44
    Thumb Down

    Waste of money

    I work in schools and have seen free laptops given out over the last two years, I spent a lot of time reparing these. Usage I have seen is a follows:

    25% - Child does get to use it and spends all their time on MSN, limewire and getting viruses.

    25% - Parent uses it and kids not allowed.

    48% - used by whole family as dinner plate/ash tray/door stop/weapon - laptop quickly destroyed but as they come with 3 year warranty and accidental damage cover the poor school technician has to keep getting these fixed. (I've had to repair laptops so dirty I the smell lingers after the laptop has gone)

    1% - Sold/stolen

    0.5% - put away somewhere and never seen again until the child starts to behave themselves.

    0.5% - Used by the child for homework.

    In general these laptops have no value to the family that receives them and are abused as such.

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    Who's going to pay for the broadband access? What about maintenance and support? How are repairs going to be paid for?

  57. Seanmon
    Thumb Up


    Can't be long before these start turning up in the pubs then. Cheap laptops for all - cheers Gordo!

  58. S Larti


    £300m wasted on laptops for kids to use MSN, play games & download music & video - probably "illegally" - while taking far, far more from universities.

    You couldn't bloody well make it up!

  59. Anonymous Coward

    Yet more money thrown away...

    ...and more profit for Micfrosoft.

    When will the morons in in .gov and education learn the real truth; PC's don't make kids learn anything!

    What we actually need in education is a return to the real basic skills.

    If a kid cannot write giving them a PC does NOT help, making them practice writing by hand is the only way to improve.

    If a kid cannot count, giving them a calculator does NOT help, as they will never know that the answer is wrong becouse they don't have clue what the result should be.

    The above makes as much sense as employing people to read the exam papers to the illiterate students....oh I forgot, they already do that now for those who refuse an education long enough, and have parents only too keen to get their child labeled as having a mythical learning problem.

    Amazing how all these mythical learning issues were invented only after all forms of real discipline were taken away by to F**king Do-gooders, who are so retarded that they cannot tell the difference between "dicipline" and "beating someone up".

    It is a sad fact that the morons of accademia will give the same score to a child that has typed a bunch of numbers into excel and randomly tried all of the charting modes until they got something that looks similar to the one the teacher showed them, to a student who has carefully drawn out a graph by hand and shown that they truely understand what it means.

    For all those parents who listen to school reports and wonder if the teacher even knows their child; note that teachers are completely prohibited from writing anything negative in those reports. The dumb ass thinking behind this is that telling a child anything bad will make them feel bad and give up, plus today they will probabry accuse the teacher of bullying.

    One can only assume the people who mandated these rules are smoking too much dope and are the same twats that tried to ban competitive sports in schools "because someone has to lose"

    What we need is acceptance of real facts:

    In the world of education to primary one being that for every Einstein, Newton, Faraday or Hawkin there are thousands of Forrest Gumps, these people are to studpid to even know they are stupid unless someone else tells them, and giving them a degree in "media studies" or ICT (they cannot even spell "IT") does nothing but put them into debt.

    The second being that to truely learn and understand something you need to do it, not just read about it or be told, and the only way to know if a student understands is to make them write about it or work out some examples without doing cut&paste from the internet.

  60. The Vociferous Time Waster

    tick tock

    only 141 more days of this bullshit

  61. Neil Shepherd
    Thumb Down

    Wow £300m

    Just imagine how many teachers you could buy with that. But this is education in Britain in the 21st century so what would be the point of trying to generate that little spark of interest in young minds when you could just let them Twitter your m8s (or however you bloody well write it - sadly I *got* an education) instead.

    Laptops don't turn kids onto education, good teachers do. So well done Gordo - another great way to keep the proles in their too-stupid-to-know-any-better place

  62. WHAT

    what the hell is going on in this society?


    We paid for their house, their car, their food, and now have to pay for their laptop and internet?

    What's the hell is going on.

    I work 10 hours a day and only get 22,000 a year, before tax. The bloke down the road has 6 babies, going to pub every day and can make more money than me.

    While Godon, you are not getting my vote.

  63. JMB

    Brown offers free laptops to deprived UK schoolkids

    Wasn't there an experiment years ago in Scotland where computers were given away with Internet access to people in a council estate and most disappeared (i.e. sold) quite quickly.

    What is the betting that these households that cannot afford computers for their children will have large screen TV and paying Murdoch large sums for access to all the Sky channels?

    What happens if it is claimed the computer has been lost, do they just give another one away?

    It seems a typical ZanuLab crackpot scheme to get a few headlines.

  64. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    My tinfoil Hat's worth...

    250000 people from deprived backgrounds = 250000 potential criminals (in the eyes of our lords and masters at least) so dishing out free laptops may be the best way to catch them on IMP in the long run. So what if it adds to a public sector budget we can't afford, or appears to be a shameless vote buying exercise, it's for the greater good

    (The greater good)

  65. Anonymous Coward

    another ridiculous policy

    They "should" invest in public libraries therefore all the population can benefit.

    Another example of shortsighted policy making without any long term thoughts . . argh . . .

    where's the plane icon ?? for feck this place I'm leaving it to the muppets and the crazies!

  66. Anonymous Coward

    Waste of time and money!

    Sure it will improve the lives of a small minority, but the vast majority it will not. Learning is something you have to want to do, you have to have the drive to learn, simply giving kit to people will not make them learn by default!

    As reasonably intelligent person, good job, plenty of IT kit, but heck when I get home full of good intentions to learn this and that, sod it, on with the XBOX360 and 90 mins of death and gore! 20 mins of looking at inane websites full of crap, present company excepted, then off to bed!

    You have a laptop? Well that's a given that you'll suddenly join the workforce and start on a salary of at least £35k/year, country's problems are sorted!


  67. Anonymous Coward


    money money money!

    I work on the tech support side for one of the companies who are part of this initiave - and although not listed in the main article on Reg, we had the majority of tjhe market share for the pilot!

    From reading the comments i can see most people have got it spot on.

    I personally think a laptop with internet will not help a child learn to read and write, of course it wont. This isn't the main problem with this though. Giving a laptop to anybody between 7 -18 isnt necessarily a bad idea, if the student deserves it

    A good percentage of people who call in for support dont have English as a 3rd language, let alone a first, so support can be, somewhat difficuilt. Now these students should have extra English lessons in schools, that is their "grant" money sorted!

    Now the other 20% who are genuine (not scroungers, dont abuse the laptops, dont sell them on ebay, dont already have computers with internet - as many do, or already have a laptop through another Government scheme - computers for pupils springs to mind) this can only be good

    There doesn't seem to be any way of determining if users already have this equipment - i've spoken to poeple who only last year got a laptop from school under a computers for pupils scheme, then to be given a grant for another! JOKE!!!!

    Now with the facebook, and the happy slapping, these laptops do have web filtering software on them which stops all of this. The main issue is the parents want to use it for facebook and other random rubbish and they remove this software. Now the kids are free to do what they like - and the parents call to complain the kids are looking at porn!

    The interente conenctions are mobiel broadband and have a 3 gig a month download limit, which they tend to use in a few days

    As tot he software builds, as much free software gets put on them as possible - Oopen office is a prime example, also AVG anti virus

    essentially its not a terrible idea, its just how its managed and organised which is whats letting it down. The Government needs to be more selective in who its issueing these laptops to, as a good 80% are a complete waste fo money!

  68. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    been done before...

    My old company tried this about 5 years ago... guess what, most of the laptops were 'lost or stolen' and this was with us leasing them to these families for almost nothing... imagine if they were 100% free!!

    in the end it pretty much broke the company, which is a shame as in principal its a very honerable scheme and would help a lot of people, but unfortunately the number of people that would properly benifit is small in relation to thiose that will abuse the system....

    that scheme was all private money, this one will just cost us poor taxpayers a fortune... all this in a time when the govnt is supposed to be reducing their spending!! £300m is a drop in the water in terms of the billions pissed up the wall so far, but the money is better off spent elsewhere.

    It would be nice if the govnt would actually help those that prop it up, the tax payers get screwed more and more each year!!

  69. pieface


    £300,000,000 / 78,000 kids = 1 fully spec'ed, 17" Macbook Pro, and then some left over for admin.

    Can this government do anything with IT cheaply?!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      fair point

      but may I suggest you remove the phrase "with IT" from that last sentence.

  70. Rob Crawford

    Scratches head

    UK wide call for the funding for English laptops

    If so then fuck off

  71. MTinger

    Mr. Brown, I am poor. Honest! Where do I collect my Laptop?

    Whilst it is clearly important for any pupil to have access to the Internet today, how is 'poor' defiend? Do you have to 'sign-on' first?

    And how is the request processed? On what ground? Next subject will be: "Who is the lucky manufacturer?" - And will Microsoft give away free operating systems? I doubt it.

    If any chance - families can get a voucher and have to order from a government controlled website....but how? No PC!

    I can see cost effective operating systems working within the scheme, like the new "whytwitter Netbook Pack". Works like Chrome OS and has full support included, makes a difference from any other Linux based platform.

    But the hardware problem will remain, so will be the definition of 'poor'.

    1. Julian 16

      How is 'poor' defined?

      Simple. If can't afford technology because you piss all your money away on fags, alcohol, the bookies etc., you are poor. This is because despite having been given the same education as most other people, coming from a family with a tradition for pissing your life away and not caring means you need a hug and a huge handout of public funds.

      If your parents give a shit and they happen to have fallen into debt for whatever reason, negative equity, business debts etc., but still happen to have a gross income greater than some arbitary figure picked out of the air by Alistair Darling, you can go fuck yourself as despite the fact you have insufficient money to obtain a laptop for your self, you obviously don't deserve one.

  72. Lan ser

    M$? Free?

    Free lappy complete with M$ ball and chain

  73. Katherinew

    Good idea

    I am a second year student at University, after being made redundant from my last 2 Project Management roles I decided to study for my Masters in Foresic Psychology working on the idea that we don't seem to be running out of criminals so hopefully I won't face redundancy again.

    Although I am studying full time I work two days a week and am also a single parent to a 7 year old son. I get no state benefits as my student loan is classed as income. I use my laptop throughout the day for my studies and thankfully I bought it prior to studying while I still had some money in the bank.

    For a family such as mine the scheme is useful, yes if it wasn't there I have no doubt that my son would still do well at school and would still go on to college and university but my son comes from a family where both myself and ex husband are professionals and both attended university.

    Whether we agree with it or not children are taught differently in todays education system, they are taught to use calculators and they do use computers at school. My son uses my laptop for 4 hours a week and he spends the time either on google - learning answers to questions he has or on various educational 'game' sites.

    He does not have any computers or game consoles at home, we do not have sky and there is certainly no 4x4 in the drive.

    Yes it is costing tax payers money and I know a lot of voters will be unhappy with that; in which case vote for someone else but please do not slate all families on low incomes, I paid into the tax system for 10 years and in 2 years will do so again, apart from using the NHS I have never claimed anything back from it. If these laptops helps even a small percentage of families then I'm happy to have done so.

  74. YumDogfood

    fleabay anonymity

    So, one PC for legit work and harmless fun and another (anon, or tied to some chav) for, errr, 'interesting' excursions around the intertubes. Bargain! Oh, we out not to tell the terrorists about this though.

  75. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Year 9 limit

    So, lets just think about this....

    Limit is year 9, so the kids doing their GCSE's this year won't qualify (year 10).

    Anybody hoping to do 'A' levels (unless the PC lasts longer than most of us know it will) won't qualify.

    So who is this aimed at again?

    "Home Access provides grants to low income families to buy computer and/or internet packages so they can learn safely, have fun and achieve more at school."

    To which we can add, "as long as they are not doing exams"!

    So, by implication, it's not to help kids pass exams, it's to "have fun" and "achieve more at school".

    HOW many £M?

    The lunatics HAVE taken over the asylum!

    Just glad to know they'll be out of power for another 18 years in a few months time.

  76. DavidK

    If the kid has physical access to the machine

    without a parent or teacher watching, security WILL get bypassed.

  77. Steven Snape

    I am going to use my right to free speech

    Gordon Brown is a tw@t.

    Thats it Gordon spend more money and increase the government deficit. While your at it why not give the 'deprived' a free internet access aswell. I am sure they will use these gifts wisely.

    Heres an idea. Why not give 'deprived' children who go to school or college money to help them buy books and stationary. My mistake he already does that with EMA and 90% of them spend the money on Drink or Drugs to aid their anti social behavoir.

  78. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    OLPC XO-1?

    Cheaper and it was designed to be suitable for bankrupt countries with lousy education and appalling infrastructure.

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