Laptop emergency: Schools plea to public to help Harrogate pupils study at home during lockdown for Covid
Schools in Harrogate are pleading with local residents to help them ensure every child has access to a laptop or iPad.
One leading educational figure has said lack of access to electronic devices at home is the "biggest challenge facing pupils during lockdown."
With schools closed to most pupils, other than those who are vulnerable or children of key workers, the danger is that individual youngsters forced to study remotely will be disadvantaged by having no access to a device.
Such is the urgency of the situation, head teachers in The Red Kite Learning Trust have launched a fundraising appeal to collect and repurpose laptops and tablets for students to use at home.
Red Kite's chief executive Richard Sheriff said: “Nationally, and for us as a trust, one of the biggest challenges whilst schools have been closed has been ensuring all children have access to a device for remote learning.
“So far the fundraising appeal has had a really good response and we have had lots of devices donated, as well as lots of generous monetary contributions from people in the community and local businesses, so we are very grateful for that.
“Our aim is that no child anywhere is disadvantaged by having no access to a device and I am appealing to the public to support us with this however they can.”
The Harrogate schools involved in The Red Kite Learning Trust's campaign include:
Coppice Valley Primary School
Harrogate Grammar School
Oatlands Junior School
Rosset Acre Primary School
Western Primary School in Harrogate
Red Kite have already raised more than £4,000 through a Just Giving campaign at https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/redkite-learningtrust-1 to cover refurbishment costs.
And local businesses are starting to step in with offers of help as donations of laptops starts to come in from the public.
Howard Conrad, a computer repair shop on Leeds Road, is one of the local businesses offering to repair donated laptops and tablets so they can be offered to pupils.
It is currently working with schools in the Red Kite Learning Trust and Grove Road Community School, with 30 devices donated so far.
Grove Road headteacher Chris Parkhouse said: “We’re so grateful for the offer of help from Howard Conrad and the team to try to secure refurbished iPads to support our families during lockdown.
“If anyone has an old unused iPad, even if damaged, we would be extremely grateful to see if it can be refurbished and used to support online learning.”
How you can help Harrogate schools by getting involved with The Red Kite Learning Trust's laptop and iPad campaign
The trust is asking parents and the wider community to donate any spare good quality devices they may have at home to be distributed to those in need.
The devices, which can be dropped off at any Red Kite school, will be wiped of any data and have eductional software installed before being handed out.
As part of its appeal, the trust is also looking for monetary donations as it says it costs £20 to prepare each device for distribution.
Since launching earlier this month, the appeal has raised more than £4,350 and is close to its £5,000 target.
How to donate an electronic device
Any individual or business with a working laptop or tablet that could help a pupil is asked to drop it off at one of the Red Kite Learning Trust schools, a full list of which can be found at https://www.rklt.co.uk
To donate a device, please ensure any linked iCloud account is removed first.
Find out more at: www.howard-conrad.com
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