First school receives laptops from our £2m investment to tackle digital exclusion

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March 4, 2021

We've started delivering the first of the 7,000 laptops we've bought to help schools tackle digital exclusion.

Our chief executive Roger Burnley joined our Byker store's community champion Ashleigh Longstaff to deliver the first laptops and mobile data packages to Byker Primary School in Newcastle.

It's the start of a £2 million investment in partnership with Dell.

Even though schools in England are resuming in-class lessons from next week, they say the laptops will make a big difference to support education activities inside the classroom, homework tasks, learning during the school holidays and to help schools future-proof their home learning capabilities.

John Newton, head teacher at Byker Primary School, said: “We can’t thank Asda enough for helping our school and donating these laptops. This donation will go a long way towards helping children gain access to the technology and data packages that will help to break down some of the digital barriers that unfortunately exist.”

Ashleigh has formed a close relationship with the school, which is close to our Byker store.

She said: "I know what a massive difference the donation of laptops is going to make to the school and its pupils. It makes me really proud that I can be here today to support my local community and surprise them with the technology they so desperately need.”

Our stores across the country were asked to nominate a nearby school where a large proportion of children did not have access to technology for home learning, and the school did not have access to a sufficient number of laptops to support them.

Whilst children are set to return to the classrooms next week, there is still a need for technology to support education activities inside the classroom, homework tasks, learning during the school holidays and to help schools future proof their home learning capabilities.

Roger said: “I’m really proud to visit Byker Primary School to deliver the first batch of the 7,000 laptops we will provide to schools around the UK. Whilst it’s great to see kids returning to school next week, digital exclusion will remain a long-term problem for many children and schools. We are pleased to play a small part in helping to break down these digital barriers to support learning activities both inside and outside the classroom.”

Every laptop comes with a tech bundle that includes a headset and a mobile internet dongle with a data allowance of 20gb from Asda’s network partner Vodafone. The dongle and data allowance has been funded by a separate £500,000 contribution from the retailer’s charity arm, The Asda Foundation. Laptops will also include a one-year warranty and technical support. Asda’s in-house IT support team will also provide support to any school that needs help to set up the equipment.

Asda and Dell Technologies provided the school with brand new laptops built with best-in-class durability that makes them ideal for young learners.

The education devices are used by schools, colleges and universities across the UK and its products are designed to support learning, whether that is in the classroom or in a virtual environment.

The tech bundle provided by the Asda Foundation is an extension of their support of schools with this important education initiative. During the Autumn 2020 term, the Asda Foundation awarded more than half a million pounds to hundreds of schools to ensure children could get back into the classroom. This included providing grants for everything from stationery to school uniform banks, breakfast clubs and more, to ensure no child felt excluded due to financial limitations. With the move to home learning set to continue this support will go some way to meet the increasing need for access to devices and data.

The laptops will continue to be delivered to other schools across the country through the next few weeks.

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