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Access to learning for all!

Derrick.jpg
Deputy Headteacher of Ilderton Primary School Derrick Ogunsola

IN an effort to end the digital divide and get laptops to the children that needed them the most during the Covid-19 lockdowns, more than 1,100 individuals, businesses, and charities contributed toward raising over £150k as part of the Laptops for Learning campaign. Southwark Council pledged to match fund the campaign, run by London South Teaching School Alliance, after research found more than 2,500 disadvantaged Southwark pupils were without access to a computer, taking the grand total to just under £400K!  

Over 1,700 devices were secured and given to 93 local schools to ensure that children could fully participate in remote education and not fall behind.

More than one year on, children have gone back to school but the laptops are still having a long-lasting impact.

Deputy Headteacher of Ilderton Primary School, Derrick Ogunsola, says the donated devices are a wonderful resource: “They really have been very useful. We’re currently using them in classrooms to support and enhance children’s learning. We’ve bought a cabinet to store and charge them as well, so we’ll definitely be using them in the future.”

Derrick received the first batch of laptops in February 2021. He says the laptops were particularly vital for pupils’ learning during each lockdown.

“We have more than 25 percent of pupil premium children from disadvantaged backgrounds at Ilderton,” explains Derrick. “We had to make sure many of them, who come from backgrounds where finances and resources may be an issue, still had access to learning.#

teacher with pupil and laptop

‘It was incredibly important that we gave our children that equal chance, and that any barriers such as Covid, did not interrupt their learning. As you can imagine, the donated laptops at the time were massively important so children could partake in the remote learning and maintain learning without much interruption. The laptops were a monumental help and were most definitely well-received.”

Although children were learning remotely, it was fundamental that the curriculum was as similar as possible as it would have been if schools were open and children were learning in their classrooms. Staff also created work packs for children to come and collect.Children were also able to see and connect with their teachers via the laptops.

‘Every day we managed to facilitate some time at the start and end of the day where children could check in with their teacher,’ says Derrick. ‘They could ask questions and express how they were feeling. It was almost like a well-being check-up.’

Derrick is grateful for the support offered by Southwark Council staff.

 ‘I’d like to say a massive thank you,’ he enthuses. ‘The team were really dedicated in their outreach to schools and efficient in getting the laptops delivered to us. It’s been a real big effort within Southwark. I think the team has done the borough proud.’