Lockdown learning is a struggle for many children who lack the technology for online learning, but Oxford City Council gave a boost to local project Educate 200 with a donation of 50 laptops this week
Educate 200 is a partnership between local company Planet IT and The Oxford Academy, to get refurbished laptops to the students who need them most. Currently some children have to share a single device with 3 or 4 other siblings, or with their parents who are now trying to work from home, and some of them are trying to do everything on their phone. Planet IT has committed to donating a Chromebook for every two laptops donated, enabling more children to access online learning.
The City Council is aiming to donate over 200 old laptops in total, the initial donation will check that they are suitable for refurbishing for school learning before more are handed over to reach other schools in the city.
Oxford has areas of significant deprivation, with 10 out of 83 neighbourhoods falling into the 20% most deprived in England. Lack of technology and internet access creates very unequal access to education for pupils from these backgrounds, so by providing laptops and tablets the project aims to help tackle some of the education challenges they face.
“Too many children have already missed out on education in this pandemic because the government support has been too slow to reach those in need. We are fortunate to have a local business with the skills and local knowledge to help tackle the issue, but it shouldn’t be down to them. Our support for their Education 200 project means together we can fast-track laptops to those that need them, helping hundreds of students. In only a month since the government changed its schools policy to remote teaching, the Council, Planet IT and The Oxford Academy have worked quickly to address the technology gap. There is a lot more to be done, but we’re making progress and will continue to work with schools and young people to find new ways to support those students who have been the worst affected by the pandemic.”
Councillor Marie Tidball, Cabinet Member for Supporting Local Communities
“We’re really grateful we’re able to help and utilise our client base. Hopefully this can be a sustainable solution for our local schools, the Council and Planet IT.”
Sean Smith, PlanetIT Co-Founder & Managing Director