Wakefield businesses praised for donating laptops to schoolchildren suffering from 'IT poverty'

Thousands of laptops will be given to Wakefield schoolchildren to help with online learning.

Friday, 27th November 2020, 4:45 pm
The government's own laptop scheme has been criticised for failing to reach many of the children eligible for a device.

Around £24,000 of council grant funding will be combined with donations from local businesses to fund the move.

The government ran its own free laptop scheme earlier this year, handing out devices to disadvantaged children who would otherwise struggle to do schoolwork at home.

But the programme has been criticised for failing to reach many of the pupils who would be entitled to one under the criteria.

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Councillor Jones said businesses had shown "great community spirit" by contributing.

Speaking at a scrutiny meeting on Thursday, former head teacher and councillor David Jones said: "The government has set aside a large number of laptops, but very few have been delivered.

"I'm told by teachers that online learning is not the panacea, because there's not enough laptops and there is still IT poverty in the district.

"But I'm very proud of this authority and pleased to say that it's agreed to use some of the finances from capital grants to buy laptops for young people.

"There's been a fantastic response too from companies who've come forward to donate their spare laptops and iPads. It shows great community spirit."

Speaking earlier this week about the programme, council leader Denise Jeffery praised the local business community for its response to the pandemic.

She said: "Wakefield business people and communities have been amazing this year and they've really stepped up.

"We've been inundated by people wanting to help with the IT poverty and it shows how much people care."

Local Democracy Reporting Service