We are delighted that some of our pupils have been able to benefit from the scheme below.

 

BUSINESSES URGED TO SUPPORT SCHOOLCHILDREN’S ACCESS TO ONLINE LEARNING DURING COVID-19 LOCKDOWN

 

Business leaders in Winsford and across Cheshire are being urged to help support thousands of local children who are without access to online learning during the Covid-19 lockdown.

 

Spearheaded by the Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), the Computers for Schools [#GettingStudentsOnline] campaign aims to lend a hand to students who do not have a computer or internet access at home.

 

It comes after recent figures showed that more than 2,400 students in the region do not have a computer or Broadband during lockdown.

 

And now, as many youngsters face the prospect of waiting until September to return to classrooms, the LEP is calling on local businesses to pledge their support to pupils who are unable to take part in their lessons online.

 

It is hoped the project will help enhance the home learning of those children who do not have access to online tools, as well as providing much-needed support to parents.

 

Clare Hayward MBE DL, chair of the LEP, said: “By the time many children return to classrooms in September, they will have had around six months out of school which, as research suggests, could equate to a year of missed school time for some children. For those without computer and internet access, the long-term impact will undoubtably be far more substantial.

 

“Our schools are doing everything they can to make home learning as easy and accessible as possible, with teachers developing virtual schooling overnight.  We also know that having access to online tools helps bring lessons to life, offering the chance for students to engage with their learning and access support directly from their teachers.

 

“This campaign will allow schools to loan either a desktop computer or laptop, as well as a three-month internet bundle, to students who are currently unable to access such facilities. They’ll then be able to ‘recycle’ the kit for other pupils to use as and when the times comes.”

 

As part of the campaign, the LEP is donating £30,000 worth of equipment, offering around 120 kits to secondary school students in the area.

 

Local companies are now being asked to support with either cash donations or via the purchase of new kit, with the likes of online retailer AO.com; global energy company Storengy; energy and services company ENGIE; and marketing communications agency Influential already signed up.

 

Michael Gibson, managing director at Storengy, said: “We’ve developed a strong relationship with Cheshire and Warrington LEP in recent years and we’re thrilled to be supporting such a vital, much-needed campaign.

 

“To be able to lend a hand to local students who could be our future workforce is fantastic and we hope that our involvement will help improve their home learning during this period.”

 

Among the areas found to be most affected by a lack of online access for school children are Ellesmere Port, Crewe and Warrington.

 

Gary Evans, headteacher at Winsford Academy – which has benefitted from Storengy’s donation – said: “During the lockdown period, some of our students have struggled to take part in virtual classes and online learning, due to a lack of access at home.

 

“While the paper-based learning packs have certainly helped, the social interaction and ease-of-use that online learning brings is undeniable. The Winsford Academy is always keen to work with local industry and employers and we are delighted to link with Storengy.”

 

In addition to supporting with school work, the LEP is also hoping the campaign will boost children’s social interactions, enable them to take part in online summer schools, and help improve their mental health.

 

Clare added: “Of course, completing tasks set by their teachers are important during this time, but children are also missing out on those all-important face-to-face interactions with their school community.

 

“Having a computer and access to the internet will allow more students to take part in full-class or group tasks, interacting with their peers and teachers to improve their home learning experience.

 

 

“We’re confident that, with the support of local businesses, we can make a real difference to many students’ lives during these truly unprecedented times.”

 

To find out more information about the Computers for Schools campaign, visit:

 

 

Media contacts:

Chris Hulme or Steph Cureton at Influential

hulme@thisisinfluential.com / cureton@thisisinfluential.com

07971350116/ 07825051584

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