A building contractor has handed 50 new tablets to schools in Shropshire, Mid Wales and Cheshire to ensure that children without access to quality technology can learn at home during lockdown.
Pave Aways has given 10 Samsung Galaxy tablets each to Newtown and Welshpool High Schools in Mid Wales, the Telford Langley School, Shrewsbury Academy and Blacon High School in Chester in an £11,500 gesture to support the communities where it works. The tablets, equipped with robust covers, have been distributed by the schools to young people most in need so they can continue their education at home.
A recent survey by the Sutton Trust1 revealed a “digital divide” between children being forced to study at home with 35% of low income families lacking sufficient access to devices for quality learning, compared to 11% of middle income families.
The building firm, which has offices in Wrexham and Newtown, has a long association of delivering buildings for the education sector and Managing Director Steven Owen said the idea for the donation had come from staff home schooling their own children.
“We realised that studying at home during lockdown because of the coronavirus pandemic may be hard for some young people if they don’t have the access to the quality technology they need and this could have a long-term effect on their future. We’d already started the roll out when the Sutton Trust report came out so that reinforced our belief that this was a positive thing to do.
“Two of our key priorities at Pave Aways are putting something back into the communities where we work and supporting young people, so our donation underlines this. We identified schools based on the percentage of free school meals received and they have been genuinely grateful for our support.”
Jim Toal, Head Teacher of Welshpool High School, said: “We are very grateful to Pave Aways for the extremely generous donation of 10 tablets. They have been allocated to students who were struggling to access online learning fully from home and have already made a big difference to those students and their families. I would like to thank Pave Aways for such a kind and publicly spirited gesture.”
Newtown High School Head Teacher Rob Edwards said: “We are extremely grateful for this generous donation, which will contribute to supporting disadvantaged learners in the school. We wish Pave Aways success in their new projects in the area, which will help to allow Newtown to grow and prosper.”
Pave Aways is currently building a £2.1m two-storey extension at Blacon High School and started work this week on an £8.4m contract to deliver new school facilities in north Shrewsbury.
It also won the award for Education and Training at last year’s Shropshire Chamber Business Award for its commitment to providing opportunities in construction for young people.
Image caption: Pave Aways’ Commercial Director Victoria Lawson and the tablets it has donated to schools in Shropshire, Mid Wales and Cheshire.