SCHOOLCHILDREN have been given a helping hand with their education thanks to a South West housing association donation.

LiveWest has donated £9,900 to The King Alfred School Academy, in Highbridge, which has helped them to buy 30 Chromebook laptops.

With remote learning being such a pivotal part of lesson delivery over the past year, it has highlighted the importance for all children, whatever their circumstances, to have access to digital devices.

King Alfred's acting principal Dan Milford said: “It is an incredibly kind gesture by LiveWest, and I can’t thank them enough for supporting us in this way.

“It has been very refreshing to see parents coming to our reception to pick up the devices for their children to use.

“To have access to these Chromebooks, where previously they would not have had that opportunity, is huge and will make such a difference.

“The Chromebooks will support our students, and give them all the opportunity to access online resources, and educational and curriculum material, to enhance their studies.”

The digital boost could be the start of things to come for the school, as it considers ways to ensure every student has access to a computer at home.

The secondary school, which has 1,250 pupils, is one of the fastest improving schools in the county for student outcomes.

Mr Milford added: “In the future it would be great if all students in all schools had the opportunity to access such devices, as we realise what a remote learning world we are living in now, and what a powerful tool remote learning platforms can be in helping students access blended learning online.

“We are exploring ideas, as always, about how we can utilise online platforms, to help enhance home learning in addition to the more traditional models we use already at The King Alfred School Academy.

“It has enabled us to rethink the way we are delivering the curriculum, and having access to a device has made it more accessible for us to do that.

“Equally, it has allowed us to track the progress being made by our pupils more easily.

"Add into the mix that some children prefer learning online, and there are huge benefits of using technology.

“We have been able to make a positive out of a negative in terms of the challenges of the last 12 months.”

LiveWest has supported families and children across the South West by donating more than 150 refurbished laptops and issuing £32,000 to schools to allow them to buy much-needed IT equipment.

In a move to narrow the social divide exposed by the pandemic, LiveWest has also helped more than 100 households get online through digital inclusion grants totalling more than £23,000.

Tim Wotton, grants manager for LiveWest, said: “It was fantastic to be able to support The King Alfred School Academy with a financial donation.

“It is always heartening to hear how this is being used to support so many students at the school.

“We play an active role in supporting all of our communities and we are thrilled to be able to help make a positive difference to children’s education.”