Plaxtol School is a tiny village school in the Kent countryside. We have 95 pupils aged 4-11. Our current collection of computers are ancient and slow. We had to retire almost half of them last year. When the children try to use the current computers they run so slowly, don’t support the new learning software they need to use, crash while they are working and lose their work on a regular basis! This means that our pupils don’t have access to the digital technology they need to prepare them for their further education and adult life.
Government funding for small village schools is decreasing and we are really suffering financially. Last year we had to ask for donations of paper for the children to use in school. Plaxtol School has an active PTA who raise as much money as they can for the school but we really need a large injection of capital to be able to fund new computers. If we received the grant, we would be able to purchase the computers immediately and they would be in use within days of their purchase. The immediate impact this would have on the education of the pupils at school would be mind-blowing!
At present, teachers are not able to use the software which is available to support their lessons and getting the lap top trolley out is a depressing and distressing event. The funding will enable pupils to use computers on an everyday basis, improving their digital skills and meaning that using IT is less of an event and more a matter of course. Teachers will be able to expand their lesson plans to incorporate technology and will no longer need to be worried about whether the equipment they need to support their teaching will be functioning when they need it.
A full set of working computers would enable us to set up a lunchtime club for children to enhance their IT education outside of the curriculum, using programs that will teach them every day skills for life such as healthy eating, pocket money saving and budgeting, coding and crucial social and emotional learning. There are so many life skills programmes out there that we would love to be able to use with the children.
Our local community offers huge support to the school by regularly attending fundraising events and donating items we need such as stationery, books and gardening equipment. Members of our Parish are invited regularly into school to meet with and assist the children. Our village pre-school is right next door. As a community, we share resources amongst the many village clubs and organisations. If we were able to update our IT facilities, members of the community would be invited to share our IT resources on a regular basis meaning that the impact of our project would be felt across the whole community.