How good are these free laptops?

Ed Balls still hasn’t got his head around the idea of spending restraint. While Alistair Darling talks about deep cuts in government spending, Mr Ed promises 270,000 families a free laptop each!

The reason is to buy the votes of the recipients, the excuse it that these laptops will let parents read their child’s school report online.

A couple of things strike me. Firstly why wouldn’t these parents read the reports when their children bring them home, or when they come through the post just like every other parent in the country?

Secondly, what spec does Ed think you need to read an email from the local school? £300,000,000 is being spent on 270,000 laptops, meaning each one is £1,111. Even setting some money aside for a wireless router £1,111 buys a lot of laptop.

All this so that families in Labor’s heartlands can read three emails a year from their children’s schools.

I’ve seen sailors on shore leave at 3AM spend money more carefully than that.

10 responses to “How good are these free laptops?

  1. I suspect the cost is related to adding broadband connections and making them secure so that the laptops are not just sold on by parents.

    “A recent study from the Institute of Fiscal Studies suggested having a laptop at home could lead to a two grade improvement in one subject at GCSE.”

    That would be an important step in achieving your 5 good GCSE grade expectation. What is the improvement achieved from “elite teachers”, have you even bothered to measure the effect of that policy?

  2. I suspect the cost is related to adding broadband connections and making them secure so that the laptops are not just sold on by parents.

    “A recent study from the Institute of Fiscal Studies suggested having a laptop at home could lead to a two grade improvement in one subject at GCSE.”

    That would be an important step in achieving your 5 good GCSE grade expectation. What is the improvement achieved from “elite teachers”, have you even bothered to measure the effect of that policy?

  3. I suspect that having a school full of elite teachers would improve the grades of more than one GCSE subject.

    Now, for a bit of fun let's use some Ed Balls style logic in political argument:

    This will disadvantage the kids who don't get a free laptop.

    Fun isn't it?

  4. I suspect that having a school full of elite teachers would improve the grades of more than one GCSE subject.

    Now, for a bit of fun let's use some Ed Balls style logic in political argument:

    This will disadvantage the kids who don't get a free laptop.

    Fun isn't it?

  5. Conand,
    You may suspect that but you have no evidence, the IFS does.

    Some of the worst teachers for under-achieving pupils are the best qualified but least inspirational. It is inspirational teachers that we need, not doctorates in ancient Egypt.

  6. Conand,
    You may suspect that but you have no evidence, the IFS does.

    Some of the worst teachers for under-achieving pupils are the best qualified but least inspirational. It is inspirational teachers that we need, not doctorates in ancient Egypt.

  7. In that quote the IFS admit that what they say is conjecture:

    “a laptop at home COULD lead”

    Is a teacher who can talk more widely about their subject more or less likely to inspiring?

  8. In that quote the IFS admit that what they say is conjecture:

    “a laptop at home COULD lead”

    Is a teacher who can talk more widely about their subject more or less likely to inspiring?

  9. Ahh!, but they will almost certainly go to a rip-off merchant like EDS and as we know these “service” providers always make a huge profit. I suspect they will be £300 laptops but re-charged to the taxpayer at £1100!

  10. Ahh!, but they will almost certainly go to a rip-off merchant like EDS and as we know these “service” providers always make a huge profit. I suspect they will be £300 laptops but re-charged to the taxpayer at £1100!

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