Leyland high school forced to spend thousands on loan scheme to help with home learning

Three months after lockdown the headteacher at a Leyland school says he is is still waiting for vital equipment to help pupils with their home studies.

Wednesday, 24th June 2020, 12:30 pm
Pupils at Worden Academy can borrow laptops thanks to the school's new loan scheme

Worden Academy head Chris Catherall says nearly half of pupils, more than 40 per cent, do not have access to home computers and have had no supplies from the Government.

So, the Westfield Drive school has had to set up it’s own loan scheme to ensure as many youngsters as possible can take part in online learning.

Some pupils were having to share equipment with parents working from home, using old slow equipment or even their mobile phones to do their school work.

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Mr Catherall has now spent more than £40,000 on laptops and since the start of June pupils have been able to go into school to collect the equipment and sign an agreement.

The headteacher said: " The Government promised us 15 laptops for Year 10s but we needed about 150. We haven’t even received the 15 yet. So we introduced our own laptop loan scheme.”

He added: “ It means that nearly all pupils now have the ability to complete all the home learning tasks that are beings set for them.

“It became clear that issues around providing a mixture of paper- based work and on-line learning needed to be addressed.

“Pupils must be able to complete work and the ability to get it back to staff so they can provide feedback and reward pupils for their efforts.

“The only way to do this is by everyone using our on-line system and so everyone needed a suitable device at home.”

Mr Catherall said response from parents and pupils had been very positive and added: “ We’ve been able to supply upwards of 150 laptops to pupils across all years.

" It’s been a pleasure to see so many youngsters and their parents leaving school with their laptops ready to make the most of their time at home.

" Staff have worked really hard to make sure that resources have been available for home learning and it’s great to know that all pupils can now access them.”

Deputy head Alan Hammersley, who will take over the reins in September. was the driving force behind the scheme.

He said: “Worden hasn’t seen any of the devices promised by the government for the most disadvantaged, so we took matters into our own hands.

" Too many of our young people were missing out through no fault of their own. This scheme will now allow all pupils to continue learning until we can invite them back into school once again.

That’s what we all wan,t when it’s safe to do so.”