The first lockdown saw Caterham School working with the local community to provide laptops and tablets to local primary schools.
The scheme known as ‘Laptops4Lockdown’ enables local Caterham based primary schools to be able to source essential IT devices for those students who do not have access to their own equipment and as a result are struggling with homeschooling.
Devices are distributed to families where there is limited access to technology and in particular to year groups where the absence of a laptop could be detrimental to a child’s virtual learning and development.
All donated equipment is cleaned and cleared of its contents both safely and securely before being passed onto a family via their school. Glen O’Dwyer from Computer Solutions (Caterham High Street) has been supporting the scheme for almost a year and has been ensuring that the equipment is restored back to its original pre factory settings so that it is safe for children.
We spoke to the Headmaster, Ceri Jones about the ‘Laptops4Lockdown’ scheme and why it was set up. He explained that limiting the impact of the pandemic on children within the community was one of the schools main priorities. “As a school we want to be able to support the community and through our collaboration with East Surrey Learning Partnership and Tandridge Voluntary Action (TVA) we hope to make a difference and reduce the impact which it has had on families and students lives significantly.”
Mr Jones continued by explaining that it was paramount to close the digital divide within the community and help those children who’s life chances will, without support, change dramatically. “Learning Maths and English is key but just as important is being aware of the social impact which has affected children. For a child, seeing their friends and being able to interact with them online during this time is crucial. Many families share devices between a number of siblings and consequently it is very difficult for all children to attend lessons, interact with teachers or speak to friends and have face to face communication.”
The school are very passionate about working together as a community in order to change the lives of children who are vulnerable to the current crisis so that everyone is equal. Not only are they offering ‘Laptops4Lockdown’ but are working with local schools by providing teaching for core subjects during lockdown and also providing lunches for school children within Caterham.
We also spoke with Caterham resident Louisa Dreja who has expressed her desire to be able to help the school with their initiative.
“Since the pandemic started back in March I know that many people in Caterham have felt a real sense of sadness about what is happening. People are suffering in so many ways and at times it can feel overwhelming and also frustrating as many of the normal avenues to help have been shut down or at least suspended. Children are undoubtedly one of the most at risk groups during this time and the chance to help improve their lockdown experience is definitely something that people locally feel strongly about. By collecting, buying and distributing laptops we are ensuring that they are able to continue their education and not fall behind.
It’s been extremely heartening to see how many people want to get involved, donate and make a difference. People’s goodwill locally has definitely been a great positive in these tough times, and something that we really hope to build on in the future.”
If you have unused laptops or tablets in a drawer at home please do consider contributing them to the scheme. Often many of us will upgrade our laptop or electriacal device and forget about our old one. This is an opportunity to be able to help Caterham children and support the community.
If you don’t have an old laptop but would like to contribute you can still make a donation and support the scheme by following the link on the on the Caterham School website. For further information and for details regarding the donations procedure visit the school’s website at: