While the government pledged to provide 1.3 million laptops for disadvantaged youngsters many schools have still not received their full quota – a situation which has created a digital divide and an inequality in the lockdown learning experience of children.
With schools set to welcome back pupils on March 8, the pandemic has only served to highlight a digital divide which has always existed and which these laptops can continue to help bridge.
The computers were donated after an appeal was launched by the school as the increase in live remote lessons and the need for siblings to share limited devices made the demand even more apparent.
Assistant headteacher Lindsey Everritt said: ‘It soon became apparent there was a high level of need in the school community for laptops to use at home. Some of our families have children in different year groups and they all needed to access the lessons at the same time.
‘Others were struggling to work using their mobile phones and were letting us know that this was extremely challenging to achieve.’
Following the appeal, parent Nicky Porter contacted the school. In her role with DXC Nicky provides IT support to BAE Systems and informed the school the company were looking to donate laptops to pupils who needed them and 55 devices were subsequently sent to the school.
Mrs Everritt added: ‘We were exceptionally grateful, both to Nicky for her hard work cleaning the devices and also BAE Systems for the donations. Each laptop will be used to support a pupil who is struggling to access work for a wide variety of reasons.’
Nicky added: ‘BAE Systems and DXC really wanted to do something to help children who don’t have the equipment at home to access online learning. For both our companies this is our way of supporting and helping out these kids.’
Even when pupils return to school, headteacher Ian Gates believes the computers will play an invaluable role in allowing disadvantaged children to continue to access home-learning.
Mr Gates said: ‘We would like to offer our thanks to both DXC and BAE systems for their help in delivering these computers. Their staff have made a fantastic effort to help our school and our children and we are extremely grateful.
‘It’s great that two local companies have supported us and shows that the public and private sector can link very effectively to support young people who have been affected by the pandemic.’