Pupils in Kirklees have now returned to school after many weeks of home schooling. Time away from school has brought many challenges for families, and the issues created by Covid are set to continue for some time. Although pupils are back in school the possibility of being sent home to isolate remains.
Through the latest lockdown, and even now as schools return to some sort of normality, Kirklees Local Authority has been supporting local families with laptops, Chromebooks and wifi connectivity. The Local Authority initiative has been supported in this endeavour by Kirklees community healthcare provider Locala, who has given 764 Chromebooks under its remit as a social enterprise.
In total more than 6,300 laptops and Chromebooks have been issued to families so far. This vital work is part of the long term digital inclusion work led by Kirklees Local Authority, and aligns to Locala’s aims as a social enterprise, and forms a key part of the organsiation’s new strategy.
Although many pupils will no longer be studying from home, there remains a need to ensure families are not digitally excluded. They need access to technology for homework out of school, plus preparations need to be in place for school groups to be sent home to isolate should a Covid case occur in a school.
Cllr Viv Kendrick, Cabinet member for Children, said:
“For so many families, a laptop or internet at home is simply something they cannot provide. We need to ensure that children are all offered the same opportunities to learn and succeed and now more than ever, technology is so vital towards achieving that.
“Digital inequality is an issue and we have a duty to help those impacted by it. Providing this equipment will be a great boost to disadvantaged learners and support them to aspire and achieve alongside their classmates.”
Cllr Carole Pattison, Cabinet member for Learning, Aspiration and Communities, said:
“The work schools across Kirklees have done throughout this pandemic is nothing short of remarkable. Especially how they have been able to adapt to offer learning online and all children should benefit from this. Every child has the same right to a good education and we have to make sure absolutely nothing gets in the way of that.
“Children without the right equipment or internet access are held back and this isn’t right. Kirklees is a place where everyone will have the same opportunities to succeed in life. Education is a vital part of that, so this really is a no-brainer and I’m delighted we’re helping so many children and families.”
Karen Jackson, Locala Chief Executive, said:
“I am delighted that Locala has been able to support this vital initiative. As a social enterprise we work closely with local partners to ensure the resources we have that are dedicated to the benefit of communities can be used most effectively. The Covid pandemic has shone a light on just how important it is for families to have access to technology.”
The laptops and Chromebooks are being provided through schools, so families who are struggling without suitable technology for their children’s education should contact their school in the first instance. Schools will also be continuing to identify where vulnerable pupils require support with technology if sent home to isolate.
For more information please Emma Dickens, Head of Communications and Engagement, Locala, 07763 556 451 or [email protected]