Builder’s boost to lockdown learning

A building contractor has handed 50 new tablets to schools in Shropshire, Mid Wales and Cheshire to ensure that children without access to quality technology can learn at home during lockdown.

Pave Aways has given 10 Samsung Galaxy tablets each to Newtown and Welshpool High Schools in Mid Wales, the Telford Langley School, Shrewsbury Academy and Blacon High School in Chester in an £11,500 gesture to support the communities where it works.

The tablets, equipped with robust covers, have been distributed by the schools to young people most in need so they can continue their education at home.

A recent survey by the Sutton Trust revealed a “digital divide” between children being forced to study at home with 35 per cent of low income families lacking sufficient access to devices for quality learning, compared to 11 per cent of middle income families.

The building firm has a long association of delivering buildings for the education sector and Managing Director Steven Owen said the idea for the donation had come from staff home schooling their own children.

“We realised that studying at home during lockdown because of the coronavirus pandemic may be hard for some young people if they don’t have the access to the quality technology they need and this could have a long-term effect on their future. We’d already started the roll out when the Sutton Trust report came out so that reinforced our belief that this was a positive thing to do.”

Julie Johnson, Head Teacher at the Shrewsbury Academy responded, “This donation will have an incredible impact on our students. During the current lockdown we have students who are struggling to access a device at home, that would enable them to then attend an online lesson.

“This donation will ensure that 10 or more families and students are able to log on to live or remote lessons and have the opportunity to speak to staff and fellow peers alongside being taught. These tablets will also provide students with the opportunity of downloading apps to support their emotional wellbeing during this time of national lockdown, which is such an important aspect of life.”

Jim Toal, Head Teacher of Welshpool High School, said, “The tablets have been allocated to students who were struggling to access online learning fully from home and have already made a big difference to those students and their families. ”

Blacon Head Teacher Rachel Hudson said, “This will make such a difference to students who often have to share devices within the family. ”

Newtown High School Head Teacher Rob Edwards added, “We are extremely grateful for this generous donation, which will contribute to supporting disadvantaged learners in the school.”

Steve Carter, Head Teacher of Telford’s Langley School, said: “We have worked hard to ensure that all of our students have access to suitable IT devices when they are working remotely at home. We are very grateful to Pave Aways for its generous donation of 10 tablets as these devices will support our commitment to ensure the very best remote learning provision possible.”

CAPTION: Pave Aways’ Finance Manager Charlie Davies with Steve Carter, Head Teacher of the Telford Langley School and the tablets the firm has donated.

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