Trust provides extra digital devices for three Tameside schools

A multi-academy Trust has given out more than 1,200 new laptops and iPads to help pupils who are continuing remote education at home. 

Great Academies Education Trust has given out the devices - in addition to the digital roll-out provided by the government - to families identified by principals at each of the trust's schools. 

These include Copley Academy, Great Academy Ashton and Silver Springs Primary Academy in Tameside - as well as Middleton Technology School in Rochdale.

Brendan Loughran, CEO of Great Academies Education Trust, said: “We know that remote education can be far more stressful if the technology is not good enough. For instance, in recent months some families with one computer have suddenly found everyone in the household needs it, and some of our families didn't have a computer at all. We needed to do something, as letting children fall behind just because they cannot easily access lessons is simply not an option.”

Schools have adapted during the lockdown to make sure that learning has continued, and the Trust say it is hopeful that the acquisition of the laptops and iPads, in addition to existing school resources, is another step forward.

It comes as research by the University of Sussex found that nearly one in five less advantaged parents said they struggled with home-learning during the first lockdown.

The research surveyed 3,409 parents in the UK between 5 May until 31 July last year and found families of lower socioeconomic status were more likely to report their home environment made it harder for pupils to complete schoolwork from home.

The study says secondary school pupils eligible for free school meals (39 per cent) were more likely to report that a lack of technology - such as laptops and computers - made learning from home more difficult, compared to 19 per cent of pupils who are not eligible for free school meals.

The move has been backed by Stalybridge and Hyde MP Jonathan Reynolds, who has spoken about his concerns over the lack of ‘digital parity’ for home learners.

The current Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions said: "It's absolutely imperative that children who are learning from home are not held back by lack of access to technology, whether that's functioning broadband or a gadget on which to study. These additional devices will be a lifeline to many local young people."

Main image:

Brendan Loughran, CEO of Great Academies Education Trust, handing laptops over to school principals. 

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