Watford Schools receive much needed Laptops to help disadvantaged pupils
As part of the ITVET Free Laptops for Schools scheme, businesses can donate unwanted Laptops which are then refurbished by ITVET and given a new lease of life, before being donated to a school or charity of the doner company’s choice. Vinci Plc became aware of the scheme and immediately offered to help by donating up to 90 laptops. In this instance the laptops went to schools in the Watford area close to Vinci’s head offices. One of the schools which benefited was Beechfield Primary in Watford.
Assistant headteacher Tanya Mortlock said:
“Beechfield School have many families who have needed support with technology during the lock down. Having laptops donated to our school is so wonderful as it means we are able to provide every family who needs one with a laptop. This means every child can have access to the remote learning they deserve. Upon our return to school, we will be able to use these laptops in classrooms to support learning in areas such as reading, times tables, spelling, and calculations. It will also support our Special Educational Needs provision. Being computer literate is a life skill and we cannot thank ITVET enough for helping us deliver these skills to our children”
VINCI Construction UK is a specialist civil engineering, construction and facilities management company based in Watford. “It is great to support ITVET with their campaign to provide laptops to schools in our local area. Being able to access a computer is now an essential part of every child’s life. By repurposing VINCI’s laptops, hopefully, many children will be able to further their education and develop the skills required to participate in our digital future. VINCI works closely with local communities through many programmes and we are very happy to be supporting the circular economy at the same time.” said Ben Paddick, Director of Digital & IT, VINCI Construction UK.
Since the pandemic started there has been a huge problem for schools in trying to teach pupils remotely, and that has been made incredibly difficult in cases where pupils families are struggling to cope financially and are unable to purchase expensive laptops and equipment. Although the government committed to provide 1.6m laptops to help disadvantaged pupils, the vast majority of these have not materialised. The criteria for eligibility are pupils that are on the Pupil Premium (PP), and or Free School Meals (FSM). However, given the added financial pressures that COVID19 has created, there are many families which are not eligible and not able to purchase new laptops due to lack of funds.
Another beneficiary of the scheme to receive a supply of laptops was Cherry Tree Primary School, Berry Avenue Watford. Which has 428 pupils. Headteacher Cheska Tyler said:
We are so grateful for the kind donation of laptops From ITVET & Vinci Plc to our school. We have been struggling to meet the need for our families so kindness such as this has been invaluable. As a result of these donations, we have been able to ensure that all of our pupils can access online learning with their peers and engage in live learning with the class teachers. On behalf of our children, families and staff thank you
The ITVET scheme was launched last November and was recently featured on the BBC’s Look East programme and has so far donated hundreds of laptops to schools, charities and families across the UK. ITVET CEO Richard Fountain explained, “as soon as we became aware of the scale of the problem, we started to appeal for donations of unwanted laptops from our clients and the public through our website and social media. In turn this was picked up by the BBC which raised awareness and helped boost the numbers of donations massively. However, it is the donations from businesses such as Vinci which are the most beneficial, as the quantities of laptops in a single donation are much higher which makes the logistics much easier. This is important because although we are doing everything we can to help, our resources are limited, so every little bit helps. Plus, companies can be reassured that as an ISO27001 accredited organisation we are able to securely destroy any data and issue a certificate of destruction.
Our team have been amazing, they have worked day and night often in their own time to muck in and help. From collecting the laptops, carrying out the repairs, to delivering into the schools. Our clients have also stepped up, not only offering donations of laptops, but also to collect or deliver laptops etc. All in all the feel good factor and teamwork makes it so worthwhile. So successful has been the scheme that we have decided to make it a permanent part of our operation, so that every time we sell a new laptop, we offer businesses the option of donating their old devices to a charity or school of their choice”