ALMOST 200 disadvantaged children in Oxfordshire will be given brand new laptops to help with their schoolwork during the third Covid-19 lockdown following a £37,000 donation.

Six schools across Wantage and Grove will be given 197 Chromebooks by the Ray Collins Charity this week.

They will be delivered directly to schools in those areas to ensure they are passed on to families who are most in need.

It was confirmed that they will be split between Wantage CofE Primary School, Charlton Primary School, Stockham Primary School, Grove CofE Primary School, Millbrook Primary School and King Alfred’s Academy, and possibly a couple of others., with each primary school receiving at least 20.

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Ray Collins, the founder of the charity, said he hoped that the donation would help children who are at risk of falling behind on their education because they do not have the technology to take part in online lessons during the pandemic.

He said that the impact of the devices would be ‘immediate and immense’ for students and their parents who might be stressing over home-schooling.

The donation is one of the charity’s 'most ambitious projects to date', and Mr Collins revealed that the trust began working on it in December in anticipation that the devices would be needed if the Government decided to close down all schools again.

Mr Collins commented: “We are incredibly proud that not only have we provided tens of thousands of pounds worth of food to local families in need over the last ten months, we have now provided 197 devices to enable a minimum of 197 students of all ages to get the education they thoroughly deserve.

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“We believe education is so important because it is for improving the lives of others and for leaving your community better than you found it.

“A child without education is like a bird without wings.

“The trust will be looking into doing more work in our community helping students and adults in education and self improvement.”

A spokesperson for Wantage CofE revealed that, when the Government announced plans to close all schools in the first week of January, a number of anxious families contacted the school asking if they can borrow any devices.

Speaking about the charity's donation, they said: “As a school, we strongly feel that any digital divide should not be a barrier to pupils learning.

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“With this donation, we believe we can now offer a Chromebook to any family that requests one.

“Since schools were closed to pupils, the Government have shared with all schools that the expectation on home learning will be significantly more than was expected during the first lockdown.

“Teachers are expected to upload lessons daily as well as a combination of streamed live lessons and teaching videos posted online.

“Due to the expectation on home learning, many families have contacted us requesting to borrow laptops, Chromebooks, iPads etc.

“These devices will be invaluable to make sure that all our pupils have access to one if they need it.”