North West Academies Trust is spearheading a campaign to help ensure children across Cheshire and Shropshire have access to a laptop for home-schooling.
Teachers are working hard to maintain the highest possible standard of education during lockdown by delivering lessons online.
The Chester-based trust decided to act when, despite distributing all school-owned laptops to pupils, an audit revealed there was still a substantial number of children without the necessary equipment to join the virtual classroom.
NWAT appealed to fellow schools, businesses and individuals asking them to donate devices which could make a huge difference to families in the area.
The drive has been a huge success, and is well on the way to ensuring every pupil at the trust’s eight schools will soon enjoy tuition over the internet.
Now NWAT have extended the campaign with the aim of helping pupils at other local schools. They have offered to pay for used laptops to be reconditioned, and act as a distribution centre.
CEO Steve Docking said: “The majority of our pupils have been able to get access to an appropriate device, and our most vulnerable pupils received a free laptop thanks to support from the Department for Education. In addition to this, we distributed devices owned by the schools where they were needed.
“But despite all these efforts, an audit found there were still 150 families in need of additional equipment.
“It’s not always easy to ask for help, but in difficult times you have to dig deep. We couldn’t stand by and allow pupils to miss out, so we have asked people to donate any devices gathering dust at home or at work.
“We have been delighted with the response. Genuinely, I was overwhelmed by the generosity which quickly filled the void at our schools and inspired us to continue the push to help other families in similar situations.
“Our own members of staff have donated devices, and we have asked for donations from our parents too.
“We’d be extremely grateful if everyone could have a look in the back of their cupboard and see if they have an unwanted laptop, because it could make a huge difference to a child at this difficult time.”
NWAT has pledged to collect all the devices, and get them professionally wiped and new software installed. The trust will work with other local schools to distribute laptops where they are needed.
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