From the editor: 'We have many divides but don’t let digital stop class'

There are always the haves and the havenots in any city but this pandemic has made that more acutely obvious than ever.

Thursday, 17th September 2020, 10:32 am
Updated Tuesday, 29th September 2020, 5:11 pm

It is all very well encouraging young people to do their school work at home but it isn’t that easy for most.

There are all sorts of issues that can get in the way but some are very basic and should be easily sorted.

You can’t join online classes and you can’t download your homework if you don’t have a laptop or reliable internet. I wouldn’t blame you for wondering why on earth anyone in England’s fourth biggest city has insufficient online connectivity – regardless of where they live or what they earn – but this is where we find ourselves in 2020. You will remember that The Star printed special educational supplements during lockdown which we distributed in their tens of thousands to schools across the city. The content was created by their teachers and was a simple way to bring learning to every child’s doorstep. That wouldn’t have been possible without very generous funding from companies across Sheffield.

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Heads down at Hucklow Middle School, Sheffield, 1986

Now we are going a little bit further. We have teamed up with the incredible team at digital firm WANDisco to ask Steel City businesses for their support once again.

This time we want those old, unwanted laptops to be brought out of the office cupboards and cleaned up for our schools. They will be distributed to the children and young people who are most in need of equipment to help them with their learning.

I am so proud of this campaign which is being led by the council’s cabinet member for education and skills Abtisam Mohamed and David Richards of WANDisco. It shows what this city can do when the right people come together to make a difference for their fellow Sheffielders. If you are part of a company which might have unwanted laptops, or know somebody who is, please spread word.

Times change and we must help the younger generation keep up, regardless of their background. It is inevitable that more school bubbles will be sent home as more cases are confirmed but even in the best of times access to education should be unlimited. This is a perfect way for Sheffield firms to help create a better workforce of the future.