Swindon & Wiltshire Business News

Appeal for donations to help socially-distanced pupils do their schoolwork at home

Dr Nick Capstick


Companies are being encouraged to give their old computer equipment to help young learners struggling to do their schoolwork at home.

The appeal for used desktop and laptop computers is being made by the Swindon-based White Horse Federation, which supports 31 schools in Swindon, Gloucester and Reading with 12,500 students, and is being backed by Business West.

White Horse Federation chief executive Dr Nick Capstick said: “In one of my schools, I have five children in five different year groups trying to access their homework, their online learning and talk to their friends-all on one mobile phone.

“They are all trying to compete for that phone at the same time and that is unacceptable.”

Business West are backing the campaign to give free IT devices to the schools.

Ian Larrard, Business West director for Swindon and Wiltshire said: “This is a great IT initiative from Nick Capstick and the White Horse Federation.

“The so-called digital divide is even more evident today and this re-purposing of laptops and digital devices from companies will help large numbers of children, students and their families in these difficult times.

“I think it is a great example how business and education can work together for the common good”.

Mark Weller, IT director for the Federation, said that companies can donate IT equipment by contacting him: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

He said: “We are looking for any kind of laptops or PCs capable of running Windows 10 and are less than five years old.

“A young learner at home might well need as much as three or four hours a day on a device.

“All education is now online, and they must have easy access to communicate with teachers and to their lessons.

“Our young people need all the help possible to get onto this virtual world of learning.”

“We estimate that perhaps as many as 10 percent of our young people or around 2,000 pupils could need some sort of device to enable home learning."

The White Horse Federation has four secondary schools – including Devizes School, Melksham Oak Community School, and The Ridgeway School at Wroughton – 26 primaries, and three special schools, including St Luke's Academy in Swindon.