Tech4Teachers White Paper

Demand & engagement: There was high demand for laptops with 1,750 devices distributed as part of the programme. However, teacher engagement with the academic evaluation and CPD programme was lower than anticipated.
Benefits: The utilisation of digital devices can create professional and classroom based benefits for teachers. These include flexible working, improved lesson planning and the creation of teaching resources.

Case study: The Academy of St Francis of Assisi, Liverpool

Why is closing the digital divide so important?

“The digital divide is the widest it has been as a result of lockdown. Students in deprived areas struggled immensely to access work and their learning during the three lockdown periods. The government were amazing in organising laptops for these students to bridge the gap, however due to students not being ‘tech savvy’ a lot of students still struggled to use the electronic device once it was received. Even now, laptops which the government issues are being returned to schools, where as other schools are continuing to offer further engagement and learning on TEAMS and online. This is something which we would struggle to offer.”

How will this programme help you?

“Offering laptops to staff will mean our teachers will be able to continue to offer outstanding support whilst working from home whether this be due to self isolating or other issues.”

DPA community project success

How did lockdown impact you and your school? What challenges did you face with homeschooling?

“Home schooling was a huge logistical nightmare for myself as Home Learning Lead. 300 Laptops were issues to our students during the most recent lockdown. This is something I am immensely proud of being able to do. Once the laptops were issues however students struggled understanding how to use TEAMS and the device as a whole. This then lead to further complications and initiatives that needed to be put into place. These consisted of praise and reward, texts, phone calls and letters being sent out to inform students and parents of the importance of Home Learning and the support on offer. We were also able to offer a parent webinar which explained how to use TEAMS and how to support their child. This was used as a way to ‘bridge the gap’.”

Teacher receiving laptops for school

What size of school are you?

“Secondary Academy on roll 852 we are also over 80% PP students.”

What are you most looking forward to about the programme?

“Being able to continue to bridge the gap between our students and other students who have more support financially.”

What plans will this tech allow you to realise?

“The plan is for staff to be able to continue to plan their high end lessons from home along with use the device for their PPA and potentially in their lessons.”

What the teachers at
The Academy of St Francis say:

“The laptop has been a fantastic way for me to continue the hard work already done to support students further at home. Prior to this I needed to their come onto the school site every day to complete work or use a family laptop. This was time consuming and extremely disruptive. As a result of having the laptop at home I am now able to support students evening and weekends, something I am very proud to now be able to offer during these difficult times.”

“The Laptop has been a great help to me whilst working at home. It means that I no longer need to spend extra hours at my desk in school. It has proven to enhance the ‘work/life’ balance that we are all striving to achieve. It is absolutely the right size to fit in my bag, which sounds like a trivial thing to mention but the ease of transportation has added to the experience.  Succinctly put, I am extremely happy and fortunate to have received the laptop.”
“Having this Laptop helps me do my coursework and complete all my assignments. This laptop also helps me with completing any work that PE Department needs doing as well. Without the opportunity of the laptop I would struggle to complete my day to day duties.”
“Receiving the laptop will support my working from home as currently I am sharing the laptop we had at home with my two daughters. This means now having my own will give me more freedom to log on when I want and not have to wait until my daughters have finished using the home laptop. The laptop is lighter and more compact than our home one so more convenient to move around and work remotely.”
“I will be using the laptop to support my further education, teaching of students and also my lesson planning at home. I am currently working towards a qualification to become a Specialist dyslexia teacher. This involves lots of assessments, report writing, data analysis, research and lesson planning. I also need to do a lot of lesson planning from home and struggle with access to school facilities, this laptop will save me time and help with managing my home and work life balance a lot better.”

Case study : Westminster Primary

Why is closing the digital divide so important?

“Assumption is that everyone has access to unlimited broadband and digital devices. This is NOT the case with at least 35% of children having little or no access to appropriate devices and broadband. Use of books for the retrieval of information is declining rapidly with the use of digital devices.”

How will this programme help you?

“Schools do not have enough budget to provide devices for all children. Technology is outdated rapidly and a device has a life span of around 3-4 years. Teachers are having to provide their own laptops – which isn’t always the best solution if dealing with sensitive information.”

“Many of the children at Westminster School and the Blackpool area do not have access to digital devices that enable quality online work. Many may have phones or tablets, but these really do not allow the children to access the variety of online content available. Nor are they appropriate for working on for a prolonged time. The laptops will go a long way to fill this gap for many of the children. The next step we are looking at with the digital divide is providing the broadband service and wifi within their houses. Many children rely on tethering to phones that have very limited data allowances.”

How did lockdown impact you and your school? What challenges did you face with homeschooling?

“Lockdown had a huge impact on the children. Having to stay in their houses with little access to digital devices or broadband to supplement the work that was sent to them.”

What size of school are you?

“We have 400 children, 25 teachers, 76% Pupil Premium children in an area that serves the bottom 10.”

What plans will this tech allow you to realise?

“From my point of view as headteacher, the donation of the laptops supplements the programme we have in place to replace laptops for children and staff, some of these being over 7 years old now.  Ideally – we would replace teachers laptops every three years – there simply isn’t the money in the budget to do this. As such, many teachers provide their own. Much of teachers’ work cannot be done on their own laptops due to sensitive data and the risk of cyber attacks. These laptops provide a much needed boost to the schools IT provision and help teachers and pupils with their learning.”

What teachers across the UK say:

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“Thank you to Currys in offering such a generous scheme providing teachers with a laptop. The equipment will be invaluable in helping me to work more flexibly from home, allowing me to create high quality resources and communicate with both staff and students during a time when contact in person is limited.”

Richard Lloyd – Music Teacher, The Bridge Academy

“Having a laptop will have a positive impact on my ability to work from home and in different locations throughout the school. It will allow me to produce outstanding digital resources and giving students the best possible experience. I believe that access to quality technology is vital to ensure that children get a high quality education. I also strongly believe that the distribution and allocation of technology has to be organised and led by the wider school community, government and non-profit organisations as it will ensure that the needs of our students remain at the centre of any further initiatives.”

Uzo Nwanaga – Music Teacher, The Bridge Academy

“At the drop of a “button” a laptop provides a wide screen for great viewing. Its flexibility and compatibility allow easy internet connectivity to resources, network and guidance to meet the emerging needs of my pupils and narrow the ‘digital divide’!”

Simone Sherwood – Science Teacher, The Bridge Academy

“I am delighted to receive this laptop from Currys. It will be very useful when planning for my lessons and other tasks I need to carry out at work. It will be particularly useful when communicating with fellow colleagues and students via email and to support with our flexible working arrangements at Bridge. We use so much tech in schools now, so this laptop will be a very useful resource.”

Colin Samuels – Assistant Vice Principal, The Bridge Academy

“Thanks so much Currys for providing extra technology that will be so beneficial for us as teachers. This computer will enable me not only to continue to provide and deliver purposeful lessons and targeted sessions to students remotely but will also aid in the detailed planning of them. I think lockdown has highlighted the constant need to deliver high quality education successfully, alongside the ability to be able to communicate and provide pastoral support all students. I am thrilled to receive the computer and rest assured it will be put to good use! “

Ursula Davies – Hospitality and Catering Teacher, The Bridge Academy

“‘Thank you so much for your generous donation. We are a large school, and this donation will support many families access the internet and support their learning at home. Not only does this donation support the children, but it also supports their families and the wider community. We can’t thank you enough for supporting learning and wellbeing at Sudbury! Thank you to Techbuyer and the Learning Foundation (@elearningfound) as well as Digital Access for All (@dafa_UK).”

Ms Grafstein – Deputy Headteacher, Sudbury Primary School.

“The laptops have been a life saver! With the number of staff having to self-isolate meant that there was an increase of staff having to work from home. With over 50members of staff across the school, we certainly did not have the funds to pay for so many. Having the very generous donation from Currys’ meant that the important work to keep on top of our student’s education could carry on! Thank you!”

Stuart Woodburn – Head of Primary, Merchants Academy

“Thank you for the generous offer of providing this laptop from Currys. This will really help me to work far more productively at home and on the move. Having a laptop to create quality resources and share with my classes is going to be invaluable. Remote teaching and learning is so important now and this laptop will give me the confidence to deliver without worrying about inadequate hardware also. Thank You.”

Faisal Bakht – Head of Computer Science, The Bridge Academy

“I am really pleased to receive a laptop from Currys and am really impressed with them for creating this scheme. In light of the global pandemic the inequalities in access to tech have been highlighted and the negative outcomes on school students is both shocking and sad. As a teacher having access to a functioning device will ensure that I can not only plan excellent resources for my students but also keep in contact with them during this unsettling time when they, or I may be forced to work and study from home again.”

Tara Mallon Doyle – Geography Teacher, The Bridge Academy