Pupils, staff and parents at Medeshamstede Academy have welcomed news that leading professional services firm, Deloitte, will be donating laptops to the Academy as part of its wider effort to close the digital divide which has been amplified during Covid-19.
As part of the firm’s 5 Million Futures programme, Deloitte will be donating 5,000 of its laptops to UK schools, charities and families.
The Academy, sponsored by Greenwood Academies Trust, supports pupils diagnosed with autistic spectrum conditions (ASC) and associated difficulties including interaction and communication difficulties, as well as social, emotional and mental health needs.
Deloitte’s pledge of donating its reconditioned laptops to schools, will further enable the Academy’s remote education provision and the digital teaching methods utilised to support autistic and non-verbal pupils. The academy has already benefited from 10 Deloitte laptops and with a 50 further laptops on the way, this will also help pupils stay connected with their peers and teachers, with teachers being empowered to further address pupils’ sensory and physical as well as social, emotional and mental health needs.
As an Academy for children with special education needs all the way through to 16 years old, many older pupils are responding well to remote learning as it reduces possible barriers to learning such as sensory overload or the stresses of social interaction that some pupils with autism may face in school all day. Remote learning accessed through a laptop can channel better concentration and engagement for some of our older and independent learners with autism. This way of learning is conducive to preparing some pupils for adulthood and the world or work, in working from home.
Many pupils at the Academy have career aspirations that they will be able to achieve through remote learning, and the laptops will play a vital role in helping all pupils reach their full potential.
Laura Ives, Principal at Medeshamstede Academy, said: “We are incredibly grateful to have Deloitte’s support during what has been a challenging time for schools across the country. Access to the internet and digital devices, including laptops, is crucial in effectively supporting pupils’ education during remote learning and this donation will be very well received by our school community and will make a huge difference to our pupils’ lives.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Deloitte for their generous donation.”
Dan Harris, Director at Deloitte, said: “The commitment to our local communities is important to Deloitte, and personally, having a son who is on the Autistic Spectrum, I am so proud of Deloitte for making an impact that matters.
“I have seen first-hand how laptops have helped unleash the unique but often hidden skills of our autistic children, with digital technology truly giving many non-verbal pupils a voice.”
Paul Bristow, MP for Peterborough, said: “Medeshamstede Academy does an absolutely super job for young people with autism in Peterborough. The generous laptop donation from Deloitte will allow them to do even more.
“Not everyone’s brain works the same way, and certain things that make the world an easier place for people with autism. These laptops will help, and will hopefully be another step in the right direction in making Peterborough an autism friendly City.
“This initiative makes me proud of Peterborough.”