Network Rail donates old laptops to help pupils learn remotely during lockdown: Network Rail donate laptops to all pupils at St Willibrords School in Manchester (1)

Tuesday 26 Jan 2021

Network Rail donates old laptops to help pupils learn remotely during lockdown

Region & Route:
National

Network Rail has kickstarted a national laptop for schools volunteer programme which aims to donate at least 8,000 refurbished laptops to schools across Britain to support children learning at home and reduce waste. The first school to benefit was St. Willibrord's R.C. Primary School in Clayton, East Manchester, who received enough laptops for every pupil in the school to continue their learning from home during lockdown. Over 70 children took delivery of their laptop last week, with more devices due to be given to pupils in the coming days.

The recycling initiative is being run by a team of volunteers at Network Rail who plan to distribute at least 8,000 refurbished laptops to schools across Britain to help pupils who are without a home laptop for remote learning during the national lockdown.

Stephanie Hart works in IT Services at Network Rail and came up with the idea to donate refurbished laptops to schools and is leading a team of volunteers to deliver the project. She said: “I’ve been working on this idea in my spare time, so it is just fantastic to see pupils collecting their device. We’re asking colleagues across Network Rail to nominate schools in need of laptops and we hope to help as many as we can.”

Carl McIver, Headteacher, St. Willibrord's R.C. Primary School said: “We’re extremely grateful to Network Rail for their incredibly generous offer of supplying enough laptops for every child in our school. This means that we’ve been able to make a universal offer to our families to be able to loan a machine from school and ensure our children have access to a device to support their remote learning.

“Within a few days, thanks to Network Rail, we have already been able to support 70 families with laptops and we have many more taking us up on the offer on a daily basis. Our teachers, pupils and their parents are working extremely hard to ensure minimal disruption to education, and these laptops will really help us stay connected.

“This project will also have a long-lasting impact upon the school's ability to support the ICT curriculum and enable us to replace our aging and unreliable PC stock with machines that teachers and pupils alike can depend upon for many years to come.”

According to estimates from Ofcom, 1.14 to 1.78 million children in the UK (nine per cent) do not have home access to a laptop, desktop or tablet.

Aidan Hancock, Group Chief Information Officer at Network Rail, said: “There’s clear evidence that many British households don’t have enough laptops for their children to engage with remote learning.  That’s why I’m so proud of Stephanie – she has worked tirelessly to champion this initiative, often in her spare time. With the support of colleagues, who are using their volunteer leave to help her, the plan is to distribute at least 8,000 laptops to schools across Britain. Recycling our old laptops to schools is not only the right thing to do, it’s one of the many ways we minimise waste. Sustainability is important to our passengers and it’s important to us – recycling materials where we can is just common sense.”

Network Rail also offers useful educational resources for children online, including a Caring for the Environment online game.

Notes to Editors

Photographs and interviews with Carl McIver (Headteacher, St. Willibrord's R.C. Primary School) and Stephanie Hart and Aidan Hancock at Network Rail are available on request.

Caption:  Carl McIver, Headteacher, St. Willibrord's R.C. Primary School and Stephanie Hart from Network Rail watch pupils from the Year 2 class (front row: Eliza aged 7, Esme aged 6; middle row: Ellis aged 6, Enzzo aged 6; back row: Zuzanna aged 6, Michalina aged 7), put their donated laptops to use for home learning. The children have formed a bubble which is why they can sit near each other although still one metre apart.

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About Route Services

The Route Services function supplies Network Rail’s route businesses with critical services they decide are best provided from a national team. This includes IT services and equipment, training, supply and operation of Network Rail’s rail and road fleet, materials including rail and ballast, contract management and procurement, and shared services including finance and HR. Working as a single, service delivery directorate, Route Services allows Network Rail to benefit from economies of scale and greater efficiency from specialised delivery. For more info, visit the Network Rail website.

About St Willibrord’s RC Primary School

St Willibrord’s RC Primary School is situated in the area of Clayton which is in East Manchester. For more info, visit the School's website. 

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