Lots of parents are getting in touch to say that their child does not have access to a computer and are trying to homeschool.
We’re striving to help Birmingham’s Digital Education Partnership (DEP) get as many laptops to the youngsters who need them as quickly as possible as part of our Laptops4Kids campaign.
But what do you do if your child is being set online tasks and they have no way of completing them?
The answer is to first contact your child’s school and ask to be put on the list of pupils needing a device to be able to work from home.
If you have already done this and been told there are no spare laptops or tablets available, then it is best to direct the school to Birmingham Education Partnership (BEP), which is part of the DEP group leading the logistics for the city’s distribution. You can find out more about BEP here
The organisation doesn’t liaise with parents but does work closely with schools to make sure that the laptops that have been donated get to the right children fast.
“We’re inviting people to give their old laptops,” said John Garrett, director of operations for BEP. “We are then re-purposing them by stripping out all the data and taking them back to the manufacturer’s settings.”
He added: “We then reset each laptop as a chromebook and give them to schools who give them to families.
“So one part of what we do is getting the laptops and re-purposing them and the other is inviting schools to tell us where they have got need.”
Whilst the Government has issued thousands of devices to schools, there are still around 5,000 children in Birmingham without access to a computer at home.
“At the moment we cannot fill the gap, we’re just trying to plug some of it,” he added.
“My advice to parents is to make sure their school knows that their son or daughter doesn’t have a device.”
How many laptops have been distributed so far
In the run-up to Christmas, BEP had issued 350 re-purposed laptops to schools across the city.
They now have around 450 more coming in for re-purposing, 120 of which are already in the system and will hopefully be sent out of schools soon.
But they need many more to try to help the thousands of youngsters struggling to keep up with their peers.
How you can help
Laptops can be delivered straight to the DEP offices on Floodgate Street in Digbeth, near to the Custard Factory but people must call in advance during lockdown as many staff are currently working from home.
Alternatively devices can be couriered to the offices and in some cases they can be arranged to be collected.
The DEP was initially set up in the first lockdown back in March 2020 to support schools and has been working hard ever since to try to combat tech poverty in the city.
Its mission is to secure a deeply good academic, social and civic education for every child and young person living in Birmingham.