Final push to end digital divide for Southwark pupils as crowdfund countdown begins

25 February 2021

Schools across Southwark have received laptops to help their most disadvantaged pupils, thanks to an outpouring of donations from the community which has raised over £100,000 through the Laptops for Learning crowdfund.

With a week to go, it’s the last opportunity to contribute to the crowdfund before Thursday 4 March and help reach its final target of £150,000.

Last month, Southwark Council revealed that over 2,500 pupils in the borough were at risk of falling behind at school during lockdown because they don’t have access to a laptop or internet connection.

To bridge this digital divide, the Laptops for Learning crowdfund was launched by London South Teaching School Alliance, with the council committing to match donations from the community.

Since then, hundreds of individual residents, charities and businesses in Southwark have been united by this cause, coming together to donate generously to the crowdfund and voicing their ardent support of the campaign’s aim to help children in the borough achieve a bright future:

  • “Such a worthy cause – every child should be given the chance to learn. Thank you!”
  • “I think in these times that each child should be able to achieve their best in life.”
  • “A great idea – let's level the (virtual) playing field and get these children computers to work on!”
  • “Access to education is fundamental to growth and opportunity and we are happy to donate funds in the effort to ensure that access to education is available.”

Over 1,000 devices have been secured through money raised by the campaign, match-funding from Southwark Council, and support from local businesses who have donated or refurbished good quality second-hand laptops they no longer use, many of which have already made their way to schools.

Zohra Benotmane, Co-Headteacher of Snowsfields Primary School, said: “We received laptops that went straight out to support our neediest families. It is much appreciated by everyone at Snowsfields!”

James Casey, Deputy Headteacher of St. Saviour's & St. Olave's School, said: “During the pandemic, access to technology can be thought of as having a key to the school building - and those students without a device are effectively locked out. We are so grateful that Laptops for Learning has helped to ensure that all of students have a laptop at home. This has meant that learning continues remotely but also that their connection to their school, their peers and their community isn't broken. In this way, technology is not just a key to learning but also provides students with that crucial sense that they are not isolated, that they still belong.”

As Southwark pupils return to school from 8 March, more still needs to be done to provide all children with the digital tools they need, not just during lockdown, but for their long-term education and development.

Cllr Jasmine Ali, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Education, said: “I’ve been bowled over by the incredible support and generosity shown by our community who clearly believe, like us, that nothing should stand in the way of every child’s right to education. A huge thank you to everyone who has backed the crowdfund so far and helped us start distributing laptops to Southwark school children most in need – they’re already making a real difference.

“Our schools, who have been working tirelessly to support pupils during lockdown, now have to navigate the challenges of safely reopening and face-to-face teaching. All pupils having access to the technology they need for their ongoing learning and success means further disruption to their studies can be avoided through a blend of classroom and digital learning. So please grab your last chance to donate to the crowdfund and help us ensure that no child is left behind.”

For more information or to donate money to Laptops for Learning, visit

Page last updated: 25 February 2021

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