Angus families are struggling to find enough computers and IT to meet the competing and “stressful” demands of online learning and home working.
The head teacher of Monifieth High School, M-C McInally, has appealed for members of the local community to donate IT equipment to support those with too few devices at home.
The experienced teacher said: “I think the truth is there a greater uptake to online learning because of when we are doing it.
“When we went into remote learning the last time, it was the summer term and the engagement was not as high as it is just now.
“I have got a very high engagement of pupils and what I’m hearing from parents, if they’ve got two or three children, and they’re working from home, then there’s most definitely a pressing issue on IT.”
4am start for some working parents
She said she had heard about parents clocking into work as early as four in the morning to free up a computer for senior school pupils later in the day.
“I’m listening to parents who are saying, it’s great what the school is producing, but I am working from a smart phone so my child can get the laptop.
“If there is anything at home that people think, I could donate that, then I would be very appreciative.
“It’s any and every device. One woman handed in a printer and that was great. A lot of families don’t actually have a printer.”
She said several people had already come forward with essential donations.
It’s difficult to even ask
The head teacher said the IT shortage was not only a pressing issue among vulnerable families, and lower-income communities, but was also affecting families in a relatively affluent area, such as Monifieth.
“The Scottish Government asked us to give them a wish list of the IT that we needed for vulnerable young people that needed access. We got the money for that and we got those machines.
“It’s always difficult for an area like Monifieth to even ask for anything, because it’s assumed it’s there, but it’s about equality and equity.
“If there are people in our community that could lend a hand then we would be glad of it. It’s making sure everyone has access to what they need.”
Parent Jane Hill received an iPad to help her son with his school work.
She said: “It has been a godsend as he was struggling using his phone – hopefully this will encourage him to be better engaged.”
Mr Arpit Jariwala, chair of MHS Parent Council, said: “It is humbling to see the efforts of the head teacher and staff to support the students in these difficult times.
“This is another excellent way to ensure the online teaching for MHS students can continue unabated,” he added.
Liberal Democrat councillor Ben Lawrie said: “I know plenty people will have old IT tucked away in drawers.
“Here’s the perfect opportunity to clear out some space, recycle old devices and help the community at the same time.”
Support The Courier today.
The Courier is committed to delivering quality content to our communities and right now that’s more important than ever — which is why our key content is free. However, you can support us and access premium content by subscribing to The Courier from just £5.99 a month. Because Local Matters.Subscribe