Swindon school gets laptops from IT company bridging the digital divide

By Anita Jaynes on 6 July, 2020

Headteacher Sherryl Bareham of The Dorcan Academy has been presented with five free laptops by Wiltshire company Priority IT to support students who don’t have access to good quality IT at home. 

She was thrilled to receive the donation after the school’s new Head of Music, Mrs Matthews, saw that Wiltshire company Priority IT was supplying free laptops to schools across the county. Many students at Dorcan Academy come from a lower income background and online learning at home can be compromised because they don’t have access to a laptop or they have to share one. 

Mrs Bareham said, “We have received 57 new laptops from the Government for our most disadvantaged students however we have other students who did not meet the criteria yet who are also in need; this donation will enable us to support them too. We want all of our students to be able to access online learning.”

Priority IT is based in Westbury and helps support small and medium businesses with their IT systems. Kieran Thomas is the Managing Director.

He said, “We have been running a Laptop Refurbishment Initiative for Home Schooling during this time. It’s pretty simple –  we have been asking local businesses and individuals to donate any unloved laptops to us. We then securely wipe the data on them, test, upgrade and then donate to any individual, school, charity or organisation to help with home schooling.”

The company started doing this after requests for laptops started to come in when lockdown came into force – particularly from those who were having to home school and couldn’t afford new or even secondhand laptops. 

“This really showed me and my team the extent of the digital divide,” Kieran said.

“We came up with an idea to help out. We didn’t have any laptops ourselves as we had sent all our spare kit to clients to help out with remote working.  The solution was to ask for any old laptops from contacts and local business owners. We would do what we could to get them up and running and then donate them to students without access to tech at home.”  

To date Priority IT has donated 100 laptops, to schools in the county, Wiltshire Social Services, some charities and also to nominated individuals in need at this time. To find out more about the company visit www.priority-it.co.uk

Pictured above: Kieran Thomas of Priority IT delivering laptops to Sherryl Bareham, Headteacher at The Dorcan Academy in Swindon.