Catherine McKinnell, Member of Parliament for Newcastle North has expressed her gratitude to True Potential LLP who have donated much needed laptops to Farne Primary School.
The donation was made possible when the local business approached Catherine to say they had excess equipment that they would like to donate to a local school in need.
Farne Primary School (part of the SMART Multi Academy Trust) had contacted Catherine after the government cut the allocation of laptops to schools in December to share their concern that a lack of equipment was proving a real barrier to learning for families at the school. The difficulties arose due to the number of laptops received from the Government being far below the number needed by the school. Catherine was able to link up the business with the primary school so that the pupils could benefit.
Commenting Catherine said:
“I would like to thank True Potential LLP for their very generous donation of laptops to Farne Primary School. We have always known in Newcastle that our community stands shoulder to shoulder in the face of difficulty and this is a fantastic example of that Geordie spirit.
“It’s incredibly frustrating that many schools and children are still without the equipment they need to enable them to receive a quality education during this further period of national lockdown. It’s also why the local community stepping up has proved so vital. ”
Lee Gallon, Executive Headteacher of Farne Primary School said:
“We are extremely grateful for the kind donation of laptops to support our pupils and families. We have now had a full allocation of laptops from the government for our most vulnerable children. However, these additional laptops from True Potential LLP have meant that more of our pupils will access our school curriculum through our online learning offer and therefore access additional teaching and learning materials
“Undoubtedly too, this equipment has alleviated the additional anxieties and worries of some of our parents who have had limited use of technology and enabled them to fully support and engage in home learning.
“The offer from True Potential is a true indicator of how our community can work together, help each other and show support for one another during a time of prolonged uncertainty, increased anxieties and additional worries”.
True Potential’s Chief Executive, Daniel Harrison, said:
“As a parent I know that school closures present many challenges to families, including juggling work with trying to teach children as well as access to enough devices so that the whole family can learn and work.
“As soon as we heard that the UK was going into another lockdown, I knew that once again there would be an urgent need for laptops and I was determined we would move quickly and do our bit to help. We contacted suppliers and bought new machines to be donated to local schools.
“I’m grateful to Catherine for connecting us to Farne Primary School and I really hope that these computers will enable young people to continue their education in these difficult circumstances.”
The government has pledged to provide 1.3 million laptops but only 700,000 of these have been delivered so far.
600,000 laptops are still awaited, equivalent to over 600 secondary schools of children without equipment to learn online.
Ofcom estimated that between 227,000 and 559,000 lived in households with no access to the internet at home, while a further 473,000 to 913,000 lived in households whose only access to the internet was via mobile.
The government has provided 54,000 mobile dongles to households struggling to access the internet however thousands of students are still unable to get online.
In response to a Parentkind survey, almost a fifth (18%) of parents reported that their child does not have a quiet place to study while a third of parents (31%) reported that their child has a digital device, but they have to share with someone else in their household.
An Office for Students report on digital access in September 2020, found that over half (52%) of students had their learning disrupted by slow or inconsistent wifi while nearly a fifth (18%) had no access to a laptop, tablet or desktop. 
For more information about True Potential LLP can be found here: True Potential – Simple. Effective. Unique. (tpllp.com)
For more information about Farne Primary School can be found here: Welcome to Farne Primary School (smartacademies.net)