North West Academies Trust are now collecting and restoring used laptops exclusively for other local schools, thanks to a stunning response to their campaign to ensure all children have access to online lessons during lockdown.
NWAT started an appeal asking people to donate devices to help pupils who are unable to join virtual classrooms, and set an initial target of 150 to support youngsters who attend their schools across Cheshire and Shropshire.
They smashed past that mark in a matter of days, with an estimated £100,000 worth of devices handed over by generous individuals and businesses.
Now the campaign is continuing with the aim of helping other schools in the area, with NWAT pledging to collect, professionally wipe and recondition, and then deliver all devices.
CEO Steve Docking said: “We’ve been overwhelmed and heartened by the response we have received, and we’ve been able to support all our pupils already.
“But we don’t want to stop there. During these difficult times, it’s important we all come together to solve problems. It’s vital we ensure all children continue to receive the best possible education.
“We are still fully committed to collecting devices, and making sure they are immediately wiped by professionals to ensure data protection. We will liaise with other schools in the area to see where there is need, and then hand them over to make sure no child is left behind.
“I’d be very grateful if everyone could consider how something which might be gathering dust at the back of a cupboard could make a huge difference to a local child, and perhaps donating to support our appeal.”
NWAT decided to act when, despite some support from the Department for Education and also distributing all school-owned laptops to pupils, an audit revealed there were still children unable to access online lessons.
Members of staff at the trust have made significant contributions, as well as parents and other businesses.
The likes of The King’s School and The Queen’s School, in Chester, have made generous donations, as have Chester-based telecoms firm Vivio.
Donations can be made at all NWAT schools, between 9am-3pm. Please observe social distancing guidelines and wear a protective mask when visiting a school.
- Acresfield Academy, Acres Lane, Upton by Chester. firstname.lastname@example.org 01244 257350
- Delamere Academy, Stoney Lane, Kelsall. email@example.com 01829 707979.
- Ellesmere Primary School, Elson Road, Ellesmere. firstname.lastname@example.org 01691 622288
- Grosvenor Park Academy, Union Street, Chester. email@example.com 01244 569560
- Oak View Academy, Whitby’s Lane, Winsford. firstname.lastname@example.org 01606 288118
- Rudheath Senior Academy, Middlewich Road, Rudheath. email@example.com 01606 42515
- St Martin’s Academy, 91 Hoole Road, Hoole. firstname.lastname@example.org 01244 566166
- Weaverham Primary Academy, Northwich Road, Weaverham. email@example.com 01606 852148
Picture: Executive Headteacher Fiona Whittaker with pupils at Oak View Academy, after receiving a delivery of laptops.