Parents surpass target when left to their own devices

Senior pupils at Strath of Appin Primary School are delighted with their new Chromebook tablets.

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A parent council has surpassed an ambitious target of buying a Chromebook tablet for every child in Strath of Appin Primary School, in response to this year’s COVID-19 lockdown.

After hearing the 29 pupils had experienced varying levels of access to online teaching resources from home during the lockdown, the school’s parent council embarked on a campaign that has now raised more than £8,000.

An online hamper raffle and JustGiving page generated £3,121, with further donations from Appin Community Trust, Appin Aid, Highland Titles and Port Appin Surgery boosting the impressive total.

Among the donations to the JustGiving page was £500 from former pupil Nick Cousins, who now runs Glasgow-based tech company Exizent. He said he was inspired by the appeal as both his daughters studied computing at school and had benefited from having access to technology from a young age.

Strath of Appin Parent Council chairwoman Jocelyn Miller said: ‘We set ourselves a huge challenge of ensuring every child had access to their own Chromebook during their time in primary school. We knew it was an ambitious target.

‘The final total was way beyond anyone’s expectation and really highlights the incredible generosity and goodwill we have in this community. It put a smile on a lot of faces in what has been a tough year.’

As well as raising enough money to buy 29 Chromebooks, the fundraising total allowed the school to buy a charging station and cases for the devices.

Pupils are now using the devices in school, but will also be able to use them from home to access teaching materials, should the need arise until they leave the school.

Dr Iain McNicol of Appin Community Trust, which covered the cost of 10 Chromebooks, said: ‘Appin Community Trust was delighted to help with the purchase of Chromebooks which will allow all the children to access the education they need.

‘The trust is a charity set up primarily to disburse any profits from the Appin Community Co-operative for charitable and educational purposes in the area. This donation fits those parameters perfectly.’

Strath of Appin Primary School head teacher Marissa Melville added: ‘We greatly appreciate the effort made by the school’s Parent Council and are amazed by the generosity shown by the community.

‘The Chromebooks are already popular with the pupils and are being used to
support learning across the older classes.’