Yesterday, I delivered ten tablets to Holy Trinity Church of England Primary School (my old primary school) as part of my ongoing efforts to get devices to the most disadvantaged students in our community and address the digital divide locally.
This latest delivery follows earlier donations to Jubilee, Richard Atkins and Sunnyhill Primary Schools over the summer.
Throughout the pandemic, I’ve maintained that schools should only open when it’s safe to do so and should be getting ready for possible disruption by investing in the things they need to complete distance learning effectively. Streatham’s schools have been hit hard by funding cuts with per pupil cuts of £688 from 2010-2019 with households seeing their income squeezed too. This means many of our pupils don’t have access to distance learning.
In particular, we’ve known for a long time that a functioning test and trace system was always going to be the cornerstone of a safe return for schools. Unfortunately, with teachers and school pupils in Streatham among those denied tests as schools returned this month, it’s clear this is not happening at the moment. With the testing fiasco causing ongoing disruption, the number of children learning from home has doubled in the last week alone.
I’m delighted to have been able to work together with school management and teachers to get some of our most disadvantaged pupils the devices they need to carry on learning. But I’m also aware my efforts are a drop in the ocean given the sorry state of school funding in the UK and the impact of the current recession on household finances. As we head towards a second wave, the Government must leave no child behind and make sure every pupil has distance learning options. That means putting aside funding to ensure that disadvantaged children get the things they need to carry on learning, whether it’s a laptop, a tablet, or internet access.
If you’d like to donate a device to a local school child, please get in touch with my office: firstname.lastname@example.org