West End Morecambe Big Local

Computers under Covid for West End Schools

Computers for schools

West End Morecambe Big Local (WEM) supports local children and families with £27,000 of computer resources

School head shows off one of the new laptops bought by WEM
Sandylands School Head Allison Hickson with one of the new laptops bought by WEM. Photo by Johnny Bean.

To support West End families whose children may be struggling with online access and equipment a new partnership project is being supported with £27,000 from the West End Morecambe Big Local (WEM). The support will be used by Sandylands and West End primary schools to provide 110 computers, an equivalent to more than all the year six children in both schools.

The effect of Covid-19 on children’s learning has been significant, through the previous lockdown as well as groups still having to isolate. There are worries about simply keeping up with ongoing lessons but more about the longer-term life impact of any gaps that children experience now. Loaning computers is something the schools currently do at a very low level, but this new initiative will help ensure that no child in the two local primary schools will lose out in learning for want of a computer.

The project has been developed by WEM and the two schools over the last few months after talking with over 170 local families. Parents were asked about existing resources as well as the challenges they faced with online school work. Some families were doing okay but many were struggling with online access and lack of a usable computer. One family only had a single smartphone in the house and with three children trying to share that phone homework was understandably impossible.

The computers themselves will be loaned to school families that have the greatest need. Overall there will be enough to provide an equivalent to every year six child in both schools, although in practice the equipment will be shared across other year groups wherever the need has been identified.

Speaking on behalf of both schools Allison Hickson, Headteacher at Sandylands school, said

“This grant will make a big difference to children accessing learning from home, both now and beyond the lockdown. All children deserve fair and equal access to learning, regardless of family income measures. Connections to the internet provide a connection to the world and all the resources it holds. West End Morecambe, WEM, have broadened our children’s horizons and helped our community move to a system where all can succeed.”

Chris Price, chair of West End Morecambe Big Local said

“The lack of access to computers and the internet for school children across the country is widely recognised. So we are delighted to assist our local primary schools at this time of great need. But rather than simply plugging a gap, this will benefit the schools in the coming years as the equipment is handed down to successive years and that’s really important to us”.

WEM’s support has already attracted the interest of other funders who may be offering additional wrap-around digital services to the schools and their families.

Hear our chair Chris Price talking about this on BBC Radio Lancashire…