School launches urgent appeal for 280 laptops for its most vulnerable pupils

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Queens Park Academy pupils (pre lockdown). Credit: queensparkacademy.co.uk

Queens Park Academy (QPA) has launched an impassioned appeal to the wider community, asking for donations of laptops and tablets to help the children during lockdown.

80% of families at QPA don’t have adequate technology to support homeschooling, and while the government has allocated the school 40 devices, the reality is that they need 320 to help their most vulnerable students – a shortfall of 280.

Unlike the majority of schools, QPA is unique in that they have an on-site IT manager who is able to data wipe all donated devices, ensuring they are safe and secure for the children to use.

This means that they can directly accept laptops and tablets from businesses and individuals in the community.

“We have an amazing community and all of the families who have devices are engaging brilliantly already with many of the live sessions we started on Tuesday,” head teacher, Emma Bolton, told the Bedford Independent.

“Quite simply, not every child has a device to use.

“We have used all of our school stock and need more to ensure there is equality and everyone has the same opportunity to learn.

“Many people have old devices stuck at the back of a cupboard, so rather than have them gathering dust, together we can ensure that our children are not missing out on their education.”

If you do have a device you are able to donate, please email headteacher@qpa.uk.net

Queens Park Academy pupil

Queens Park Academy is just one of many primary and secondary schools whose families are struggling to provide technology to support homeschooling.

The High Sheriff of Bedfordshire, Susan Lousanda, has been working with Children’s Services departments across the county throughout the pandemic, and so far has donated over 800 laptops to schools.

“This lockdown has seen a huge surge in demand from primary schools,” explained Susan.

“Unlike in the first lockdown, primary schools have been expected to deliver a digital provision this time round.

“And unlike some secondary schools, most primary schools don’t have cupboards of laptops their pupils can use.”

laptop donation
Laptop donations: The High Sheriff with Cllr Valentine and the head teacher of Ridgeway School and two members of the Rotary Club

Susan has been working closely with a company in Stevenage to refurbish and data wipe second-hand computers that have been donated so they can be passed on to vulnerable children in the county.

The High Sheriff is meeting with the Federation of Small Businesses next week to encourage more local companies to get on board with the initiative.

“Every laptop you put into landfill is a waste of resources,” said Susan. “If you donate your old tech, we guarantee that all data is wiped from the device, it improves your carbon footprint and enhances your corporate social responsibility.”

Next week, the High Sheriff will be launching details of a local hub for Borough residents to donate their computers, so watch this space…

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