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Every Child Online campaign – laptops for schools

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Norfolk County Council is working with Norfolk Community Foundation (NCF) on the campaign backed by the Eastern Daily Press to ensure every school age child has a digital device and internet connection to learn remotely at home, making sure no child is left behind in their learning because of digital disadvantage. 

With schools and academies closed to most youngsters for the next few weeks at least, the high level of need has arisen because most children are now expected to complete a full curricular day of learning. This means multiple devices may be needed to enable every child in a family to participate in online classes, with adults also working from home. 

Two ways to step up and help 

  • Businesses and organisations can give pre-used devices for refurbishment and distribution to schools. Email [email protected] 
  • Individuals and businesses can give funding to NCF to be spent on new laptops and tablets. To donate, vist NCF’s website here.

The county council has already co-ordinated the sourcing, prioritisation, and distribution of approximately 2,000 laptops and tablets, either directly to youngsters or to their schools – 500 of which have been directly provided by the council.  But it is estimated that Norfolk’s 430 schools and academies still need around 6,000 devices and at least 1,000 households with school-age children are unable to connect to the internet. 

Claire Cullens, Chief Executive of Norfolk Community Foundation and Chair of the New Anglia LEP Skills Advisory panel said: “We know the need is out there for us to step up and fill locally to make sure our young people don’t get behind. As a result of the pandemic our young people are trying to learn from home, which is hard enough without a teacher and friends alongside you, but even harder if you are denied access to learning opportunities because you don’t have the wi-fi or the necessary devices to do so. Every day of learning lost is another hurdle to climb.” 

Schools are providing a full curriculum experience with teachers available to help children as they learn. Many schools can provide printed out packs if necessary, families facing difficulties accessing learning materials digitally should contact their school for help. 

Action and response so far 

  • Around 1,400 devices have already been delivered to schools for identified vulnerable children or issued directly to children with a social worker, supplied through a Department for Education (DfE) scheme 
  • 500 refurbished former Norfolk County Council devices have been issued to schools 
  • The council’s Schools IT team has supported around 60 schools with either Microsoft or Google Platforms  
  • Norfolk Libraries service has been offering guidance and advice to families by creating ‘libraries at home’: with access to free eBooks, online resources and activities, and help to get online from library staff on the end of a telephone 01603 774777 from 10am-6pm Monday to Friday and 10am-4pm on Saturdays. 

 

Action forthcoming 

  • Deployment of 300 brand new devices supplied by the DfE  
  • A further 200 Norfolk County Council reconditioned corporate laptops have been identified for schools use 
  • Norfolk County Council’s Norfolk Assistance Scheme is currently fast-tracking requests for 381 devices 

 

Donated devices will be tested, refurbished and distributed by the county council. The preferred tablets are Apple iPads or Samsung or Lenovo tablets, which work with the Play Store, or Chromebooks with a minimum of 2GB of RAM available. The minimum specification for laptops is Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 with a minimum i3 processor and minimum 4GB of RAM available. 

Any second-hand devices should be wiped and reformatted. Advice and guidance on this is available from [email protected]