A Fife community has rallied together to help local school pupils with home learning by providing them with laptops and other IT devices.
Pupils at Bell Baxter High School are benefitting from a new partnership that brings together the school, its parent council, local community group Laptops For Learning Fife (LFLF) and local businesses and community-based funders
As a result of the partnership, the Cupar school is set to receive more devices for pupils to use at home for remote learning.
The devices are being delivered thanks to grants obtained by the parent council and donations of refurbished laptops from LFLF.
Depute rector Brian Harris, who has been working with the parent group and LFLF, outlined the challenges faced by pupils who are learning at home due to the lockdown.
He said: “We are very grateful to the New Park Educational Trust, the University of St Andrews, the St Andrews Ball Committee, Cupar Common Good fund and others, for their extremely generous contributions.
“We have found that many young people, while they may have mobile phones for homeworking, really need computers especially for the live learning sessions we have started this term.
“We are trying our best to ensure equity across as many families as possible especially those having to share with more than one other sibling or parents trying to work from home.”
“It has been really encouraging to have so much support locally especially with LFLF choosing Bell Baxter High School as the first school they will support with refurbished laptops and donations towards our IT appeal.”
Karen Brown, chair of Bell Baxter Parent Council
The devices obtained through the community partnership will be in addition to 44 Chromebooks already received from the Scottish Government, as well as IT resources from Fife Council.
These will help pupils with the current period of home learning and, according to Mr Harris, when they are back in school.
He said: “We have already allocated the devices from the Scottish Government and Fife Council as well as those already purchased by the parent council following the last lockdown to those who were in most need and we hope that another survey of parents will identify any further need.
“We don’t know how long this spell of home learning will last and if we will have to face more of this.
“What we do know is that learning online, even in school, is what we will be doing in future so we want pupils to have access to the IT they need and to minimise the financial impact of this on their parents or carers.”
Karen Brown, chair of Bell Baxter Parent Council, was also full of praise for the support the initiative has received over the past few months.
She said: “It has been really encouraging to have so much support locally especially with LFLF choosing Bell Baxter High School as the first school they will support with refurbished laptops and donations towards our IT appeal.
“We are also very grateful to other local organisations for financial support, this has been fantastic. It is so important that our young people are able to carry out their schoolwork and that families, who are already facing so many challenges in this difficult time, are not disadvantaged by the costs.”
Hilary Lumsden, of the LFLF, thanked the Bruce Charitable Trust and other local support, as well as those who donated unused or older style laptops for refurbishment.
She said: “The priority of LFLF just now is to ensure that all senior pupils, who have been impacted the most, have the IT they need for them to be fully equipped for their coursework.
“We do not want any young person to be left behind. Pupils will be gifted LFLF devices which should see them through the duration of their time at school.
“We also hope to be able to encourage other schools to work with us using the model we have developed with Bell Baxter.”