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Lockdown Laptops Aid Learning

More than 3,000 children and young people in South Tyneside have benefited from laptops, tablets and routers to the Internet to help with home schooling.

South Tyneside Council launched a strategy at the start of the pandemic to help disadvantaged families while further devices have been provided by the Department of Education. As a result, the Council believes every family which requested IT support has been given help.

Kelly Barrow, who lives with her two sons, Joe and Mason, on the Biddick Hall estate in South Shields was given a laptop for both her sons who attend different schools.

Joe, aged ten, who goes to Biddick Hall Juniors, was given a laptop after his mum completed a survey from his school asking families if they had the IT devices needed for home schooling.

Kelly, who is currently furloughed from her job as a kitchen assistant, said: "My boys had ipads but the screen was small and they were old and not the best to work on. I was planning to buy a new laptop but they were sold out. After getting the laptop for Joe, I then contacted Boldon School and they provided a laptop for Mason too.

"The devices have been an absolute godsend. The boys can read their work online more clearly and are doing Zoom lessons where they can see their friends and teachers. The devices have helped us get into a really good routine and their teachers are over the moon with the boys' progress."

Since receiving the devices Mason has been named "super home schooler of the week'' and both boys have received positive feedback and messages of support from teachers.

Kelly added: "Home schooling has been very stressful some days but having the laptops has helped enormously. I feel so happy with myself that we now have a good routine in place and the boys are getting such lovely comments back from school."

Under the Department for Education scheme, devices  were allocated to children and young people who did not have access to a suitable device or had to share a device at home. However, the Council has been able to extend the scheme to more families.

Councillor Moira Smith, Lead Member for Children, Young People and Families, said: "One of our core priorities is to make sure that every child has the best start in life but we know children can only attain this if they have the right equipment to help them learn. By providing this additional support we are helping to make sure that no child is left behind as a result of the pandemic."

 

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