More than 1,500 laptops are being given to pupils across the city from today (Monday) to help them continue to learn through the coronavirus lockdown.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council is distributing a total of 1,533 laptops and 135 4G routers to city schools so more pupils can access online learning. The authority has taken stock of 17 pallets of the computers, worth £429,000, from the Department for Education specifically to help schoolchildren in the city.
Council leader Abi Brown said: “The laptops will be a much-needed boost for pupils in the city, to help them to continue their learning during the coronavirus lockdown. They will help young people to not only catch-up on their school work, but will also allow schools to provide more tailored learning activities and build up resilience before students move on to college courses which will require good research skills.
“The laptops are loaded with software to support pupils and their families. They include Cisco Umbrella security software to ensure pupils are kept safe when using them.
“Schools have used a variety of methods to keep in touch with pupils during the lockdown, including through hard copy work packs and online activities.
“We’re also looking at supporting other pupils who don’t qualify for this scheme who do not have suitable IT at home, and work is ongoing with schools on this.”
The laptops are being given to care leavers, children and young people with a social worker, and year 10 pupils at maintained schools who do not have access to other devices.
Meanwhile, council services from buildings that remain temporarily closed during the lockdown are continuing to be delivered in different ways. Museum services have adapted so that more content is available than ever before online.
The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery has a series of blogs and vlogs, with lots of information about the site’s collections including behind-the-scenes tours. They can be accessed via: https://www.stokemuseums.org.uk/pmag/blog. The museum’s YouTube channel also now includes ‘event’ activities for families such as performers and a range of craft workshops to enjoy at home, as well as a series of talks for adults. The museum has a ‘community section’ online, with contributions from residents, artwork based on museum items and people’s ‘mini museums’ at home. This section also has examples of #SoTRainbow art and public literary responses to the pandemic.
Council-run leisure centres continue to be closed during the coronavirus restrictions, with a whole range of activities online. The service has staged 16 live workouts through lockdown, which have been viewed 26,987 times with an average 1,687 per session. Leisure teams have also created 45 pre-recorded workouts, viewed a total of 33,155 times with an average 754 views per session. Anyone can access the videos – even if they are not a member of a council gym. The live classes are available on leisure centre Facebook pages for Shapes and Dimensions and the Wallace Sports and Education Centre. The can also be found on YouTube via https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfyJ-Tk38MOWTOOJDJbNaNw.
Councillor Brown said: “We have been working hard to make as many services as possible accessible during the lockdown, and it is fantastic to see so many residents using our online and digital resources at this time. Much credit needs to be given to our teams for working in new ways to provide services, and we will continue to work hard in different ways for residents, until national guidance makes it possible for us to reopen buildings in safe and accessible ways.”
For more information and advice on coronavirus (Covid-19) please visit Public Health England:
https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2020/01/23/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-what-you-need-to-know/ and the NHS: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/.
All residents are reminded about the critical importance of regular handwashing with soap and hot water for 20 seconds. The significance of this action cannot be underestimated.
For more information on digital services, visit www.stoke.gov.uk, download the MyStoke App, or follow the city council’s social media channels.
For all media enquiries please contact Andrew Brunt in the Communications Department at Stoke-on-Trent City Council on 01782 232671.
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