Bishop's Stortford MP Julie Marson welcomes Government investment in laptops for students
MP Julie Marson has welcomed an announcement that home-schooling children in Hertfordshire have benefited from 8,860 laptops and tablets – three months after a community-minded Bishop's Stortford business started spearheading a digital drive in the town.
As the Government hit a milestone in its roll-out of devices to support disadvantaged students and pupils, Mrs Marson, Conservative MP for Hertford and Stortford, said: "No child should miss out because of the disruption caused by this pandemic. That is why it has been a priority to equip those children most in need with the resources they need to succeed.
"I welcome that young people across our community and Hertfordshire as a whole are continuing to benefit from these measures to help schools deliver high-quality learning, and the 8,860 devices we now have received will ensure no child's education is hindered, regardless of their background or circumstance.
"While we hope that all our children will be back learning in the classroom as soon as possible, we will do everything in our power to give them the world-class education they deserve as they learn at home."
Despite those assurances, Bishop's Stortford tech firm ITVET, in London Road, stepped in after primary and secondary schools in the town highlighted a shortfall in the Government's support for students.
In November the company launched an appeal for unwanted laptops it could repurpose for schools. Since January it has delivered 350 donated devices, refurbished for free by boss Richard Fountain's team – thereby meeting every request for help. ITVET is to continue with its scheme for schools and charities permanently.
Earlier in February, Helen Smith, headteacher of Manor Fields primary in Thorley Park, told the Indie that 14 families had reached out to her school for laptop help, but it had received only one device through the Government's Get Help With Technology scheme launched last year.
The school had applied for more, but in the meantime another Bishop's Stortford IT firm, Genmar, based on the Raynham Road industrial estate, donated eight and ITVET supplied 15.
The Government claims more than a million laptops and tablets have been delivered to schools and local authorities across England as part of a £400m investment.
Last month the Department for Education announced a further 300,000 devices, and schools are receiving top-ups to their original allocations, with priority being given to those with the highest proportion of disadvantaged pupils.
To improve remote education, the Government has also provided more than 54,000 4G routers to schools and colleges across England.
* Anyone with a laptop suitable for refurbishment by ITVET can drop it off at the firm's office in London Road (the old Tanners Arms pub) or the Indie office at 12 North Street.