Following England’s third national lockdown and a return to remote learning, Vision Direct has donated over £10,000 to deliver 50 laptops to schools in need.
The donation has come at a time when many students are struggling to maintain their education during the pandemic, as Ofcom estimates that up to 1.8 million UK children don’t have access to a laptop, desktop or tablet at home.
The brand new laptops have been delivered to six schools across London: St. Dunstan’s Cheam, CofE Primary School, Highams Park School, All Souls C of e Primary School, Rhyl Primary School, Hackney New School and Ruislip Gardens School.
While the government has supplied a number of laptops to schools in England, it has struggled to deliver the amount needed to meet demand. Vision Direct stepped in to fill this gap by purchasing £10,000 of new laptops and donating them directly to the schools in need, who will then distribute the laptops to families on their lengthy waiting lists.
“I am very grateful for the devices.” says a parent from Rhyl Primary School “It has helped me form routines for home learning. I can support both my girls now as they have their own devices. I found it very stressful before but now it is calm. The children look forward to their live lessons to meet their teacher and they can see their friends everyday. Thank you Vision Direct.”
“It’s vital that everyone has access to laptops during this pandemic,” says Ashley Mealor, Chief Marketing Officer at Vision Direct. “Like countless others, we’ve made the switch to operating remotely and our business would not have been able to continue functioning without the proper technology to keep us connected. We want to ensure that all children have that technology too, as they battle the challenges of remote learning.”
The ‘digital divide’ that the pandemic has created has had a negative impact on children’s education. If families don’t have enough devices, they’re forced to make hard choices about their children’s educational needs.
Despite these challenges, expectations of home-learning are high. The Department for Education states that schools must provide between three and five hours of learning per day, depending on age. Many of those hours come in the form of live or prerecorded video, powerpoint presentations, and submitting work virtually to be checked, meaning that the child’s education is next to impossible without a device and access to the internet.
“The donation of laptops from Vision Direct to Rhyl Primary School pupils has been invaluable,” says Helen Connor, Headteacher at Rhyl Primary School in Kentish Town. “Over 60% of our pupils do not have a device of their own to use at home and have to share with siblings or use a parent’s mobile phone. It is more important than ever that every school-aged child is able to access remote learning. For too many children this is not possible and as a result the gap in learning and achievement for our most disadvantaged children is becoming wider and the impact on their future educational outcomes will be significant. Every child has a right to be provided with a device of their own to support their learning and education and this donation will mean more of our children are able to learn at home and have the support from their teachers that they deserve.”
This isn’t the first time brands have used their resources for good during the pandemic. During the first lockdown, many brands donated goods and services to key workers. Vision Direct gave away 4,000 packs of free contact lenses to people working for the NHS, police and fire service, social care staff and teachers to wear comfortably under their PPE.