Pupils across Lichfield and Burntwood cannot be left behind due to a lack of access to home learning, a councillor has said.

Cllr Sue Woodward

Cllr Sue Woodward, leader of Burntwood Town Council, made her comments as most children continue to be forced to home educate due to the coronavirus lockdown.

Many teachers are now using online lessons or work set by teachers via the internet in order to educate pupils.

But Cllr Woodward said barriers still existed for many students in terms of digital connectivity.

“It is vital that every pupil in all schools have internet access to online learning in order to give them equal opportunities, by providing laptops or tablets to enable them to learn effectively.

“Digital deprivation needs to be addressed immediately and also those households who have no broadband connectivity need help and support to ensure it is installed and affordable to use.

“We cannot continue to let pupils down and each pupil in every household should have a suitable device to support their learning, so it is essential that Government acts swiftly to help the children in Burntwood and across the district.”

Cllr Sue Woodward, Burntwood Town Council

A campaign to repurpose unwanted or unused laptops and tablets for schoolchildren in Lichfield and Burntwood was launched over the weekend by Lichfield District Council leader Cllr Doug Pullen.

He said:

“With several young children at home, I know how hard it is to ensure continuity of learning while sharing a laptop, or if there are multiple people in one room without headphones.

“With almost 100 schools in Lichfield district, we need as many devices as possible.

“Let’s find those unwanted laptops – we’ll collect them from your home or business, get them cleaned up and wiped of all personal data, and then distribute them to schools in the district who will then pass on to families.”

Cllr Doug Pullen, Lichfield District Council

Anyone who wants to donate a laptop for the initiative can find out more information here.

Cllr Woodward said she was hopeful initiatives such as the one being organised by Cllr Pullen may help cover shortfalls caused by a lack of central supplies reaching schools:

“The provision of IT equipment is not being done locally during this third lockdown as it was during the first but schools are being asked to apply directly to the Department for Education – whether they get what they need is another matter.

“I’m asking that question in the light of promises made by the Secretary of State but local initiatives such as the one by Cllr Doug Pullen can hopefully cover any shortfalls.” 

Cllr Sue Woodward, Burntwood Town Council

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