More than 40 “Level Up Laptops” have been given to two Brighton primary schools to help children learn from home.
Carlton Hill Primary School, in Brighton, has been given 23 refurbished laptops shortly after 20 were handed to nearby St Luke’s Primary School.
Head teacher Tamsen Beer said: “At Carlton Hill, we have worked hard to create a fun and engaging online curriculum but we realise that it is no good to our pupils if they can’t access it.
“There are still many of our families who are sharing devices with their siblings and/or parents and are therefore struggling.
“This incredibly generous initiative by Level Up Laptops will help us to continue to tackle the wide digital divide by giving these families a refurbished laptop to support the children with their remote learning.
“It will also bring these children back into our school community as they will be able to communicate with classmates and teachers through our blogs and video calls.”
Level Up Laptops was set up by the marketing technology business SoPro, which is based in Brighton, in partnership with the Tarner Community Project and a Brighton not-for-profit organisation called Tech-Takeback.
Level Up Laptops is asking Sussex businesses to donate unwanted devices – or money to cover the cost of refurbishing surplus equipment.
Monetary donations go through the Tarner Community Project, Level Up Laptops’ charity partner. Tarner has close ties to St Luke’s and Carlton Hill primary schools and supports various community-focused activities for local children.
SoPro’s co-founder and chief technology officer Rob Harlow said: “We knew that if local businesses had spare devices or an opportunity to help close the digital divide with a donation, they would step up.
“Because SoPro is designed to help businesses identify prospects before creating awareness and engagement, we were able to quickly identify Sussex business owners and reach out to them with effective personalised messaging.
“It’s just fantastic that, less than a month after launching, we’re making deliveries to schools.
“These children could be the future developers and innovators we need to keep Brighton and Hove growing.”
The organisation that prepares the laptops for the children to use, Tech-Takeback, already runs the RevaluElectricals service. It offers all Brighton and Hove residents the chance to donate unwanted electricals via doorstep collections.
Tech-Takeback’s founder and managing director David Greenfield said: “It’s fantastic that by working with Level Up Laptops and the SoPro team we have been able to get devices donated by our local community fully data-erased and refurbished and back out into the community where they will have an immediate positive impact.”
Tarner Community Project chief executive Emma Jacquest said that the devices would help many schoolchildren across Sussex.
She said: “Covid has accelerated the amount of education conducted online and it’s critical that vulnerable children don’t fall behind because of a lack of access to learning resources.
“We’re excited to be involved in this project to tackle the digital divide across Sussex and have every confidence in the generosity of local businesses.
“It is estimated that 2.6 million schoolchildren live below the poverty line in England alone and Ofcom estimates that about 9 per cent of children in the UK – up to 1.7 million – do not have access to a laptop, desktop or tablet at home.”
And, she said, more than 880,000 children also live in a household with only a mobile internet connection.
Level Up Laptops will also accept any laptop that runs Windows 7 or later – plus tablets, which many younger children need for their studies, refurbishing them and then connecting with local schools.
The schools distribute the devices to children struggling to maintain their education remotely.
Level Up Laptops sad that any devices donated would go through a thorough process to erase data, refurbish and “PAT test” them.
This work is carried out by Tech-Takeback or another firm, KLYK, before they are distributed to our partner schools.
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