Laptops and tablets donated by Sidmouth community help school children learn from home

Claire Fegan, Head of School, with Caroline Curtis, Key Stage 2 Leader, holding some of the devices that have been donated

Claire Fegan, Head of School, with Caroline Curtis, Key Stage 2 Leader, holding some of the devices that have been donated - Credit: Sidmouth Primary School

The head teacher of Sidmouth Primary School has spoken of the ‘breath-taking’ support the school has received from the local community. 
Head of School Claire Fegan put out a call to the public for help with securing IT devices, such as laptops and tablets, so that children who are currently learning from home can take part in online lessons.
Claire said: “Like all schools, we are working to support families in any way we can with home learning. The government guidance for schools is to provide a high level of online content, using live lessons, websites and pre recorded videos to make sure children don't fall behind in their learning. We surveyed our parents to see how many were without devices, in houses where several siblings are sharing one device. For our school this was around 55 children, although we know there are many more where families are 'coping' but where an additional device would relieve some of the pressure of home learning.”
Claire told the Herald that Sidmouth Primary has been allocated 35 devices from the Department for Education but schools have been told that these cannot be ordered until January 15 and the families need the support now.
Speaking of the support that’s been offered, Claire said: “A lovely member of the local community called to ask if she could donate a device she no longer uses. We were able to reset it to factory settings and set it up ready for a child to use.  It gave us the idea of approaching the local community to see if anyone else could offer anything. Within hours, we had received phone calls and messages offering all sorts of devices - people seemed to grab the opportunity to do something positive and constructive at the moment. 
“Communities really coming together seems to be one of the few silver linings of this whole dreadful situation.  As of this morning, (Monday, January 11), it's looking like we have gained about 20 devices which is amazing. 
“In addition to equipment, we've been fortunate enough to receive fundraising donations from people offering money for us to buy devices. Lois Swarbrick, a member of the local community, has been busy making face masks which raised an incredible £1,000 for us to buy brand new devices which are already out with families making a difference.  “Another local couple called to donate £500. We've also had kind messages from IT specialists, offering support to erase devices and set them up with the software needed. “It has been a tough time for schools, but to feel so supported by the local community and the kindness of strangers has been quite breath-taking. It is great to see the reactions of parents when we tell them and knowing the difference it will make to our children.”
The school welcomes any further donations from the community.
If you wish to help, call the school office on 01395 514146 or email admin@sidmouth-primary.devon.sch.uk

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