Laptop donation for Cardiff schools

Supporting online learning and digital inclusion

Two high schools in Cardiff are to directly benefit from Deloitte’s pledge to donate 5,000 of its laptops to UK schools, charities and families following its response to the growing digital skills gap and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fitzalan High in Leckwith and Eastern High in Rumney will both receive laptops in addition to an £8,000 financial donation made by Deloitte’s 5 Million Futures programme to enable the schools to purchase essential digital equipment to support children with no access to online learning resources.

The donation follows Deloitte’s announcement that all the firm’s used laptops will be reconditioned and given a second lease of life. Any devices unfit for future use will be stripped and the parts will be recycled. Deloitte is working with IT disposal experts to ensure all laptops are confidentially wiped to factory settings, rebuilt and upgraded.

Gareth Pritchard, responsible business partner at Deloitte in Wales, says: “In a technology-driven world, it seems impossible to think that digital deprivation on such a scale exists and highlights a societal gap that will continue to grow unless each child has access to the same educational resources.

“Our people in Cardiff have been working with both Fitzalan and Eastern High Schools for many years to support youngsters in preparing for their chosen careers and help break down educational barriers. The financial donation to both schools made at the end of last year was to enable each to fund additional digital equipment to enable everyone to continue their education."

“Many of the pupils are at a critical point in their studies and whilst digital inclusion has improved in recent years, those without access to the right technology, or skills to use technology, are struggling. We hope the financial donation along with the laptops will make a huge difference to home-learning for many.”

Volunteers from Deloitte in Wales support each school in a variety of ways including access to mentors, careers support and presentation skills training. Deloitte also offers a ‘preparation for promotion’ course for teaching staff who are looking to develop their leadership skills and interview techniques.

Susan Cowan, deputy headteacher at Eastern High School, says: “We serve a community where some families experience some of the highest levels of deprivation in Wales and have a high percentage of students who do not have a device at home to access online learning, including those who do not have a device or any means to access the internet."

“As a result, we have combined the funding with other resources to nearly eradicate digital deprivation in our school community by buying devices and dongles so students can access the online classroom, additional academic and wellbeing support packages, and connect with the school community.”

This sentiment is echoed by Fitzalan High School as Jo Kemp, assistant headteacher, added: “We have a significant issue with digital deprivation in our school and will certainly be using the donation to purchase extra devices and software to continue supporting staff and pupils with high quality online teaching and learning provision. We have been able to move to a 'live' online learning situation for all classes during lockdown and this will support even more pupils to access this provision.”

Ian Howse, senior partner for Deloitte in Wales, says: “The current pandemic has shown there is an urgent need to get computers into homes of children who are currently unable to access online lessons. While 5,000 laptops across the UK is a fraction of what’s required, that’s 5,000 additional people getting the critical digital access that they otherwise would not have had.”

Once Deloitte has distributed 2,600 laptops to its 26 partner schools across the UK, the firm will distribute the remaining devices to its charity and social enterprise partners, and to other good causes nominated by Deloitte’s people.

By ensuring all Deloitte laptops are reused or recycled, this pledge supports the firm’s global climate and sustainability strategy – to achieve net zero emissions by 2030. In addition, Deloitte is encouraging its people to take action by donating their personal defunct devices. For example, old mobile phones and tablets can be restored, six months connectivity added, and rehomed via Vodafone’s Great British Tech Appeal charity partner, Barnardo’s.

Caroline Klinkenberg
+44 (0)117 984 2741

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