The community at The Dolphin School in Montpelier has come together to make sure pupils will not miss out as a result of the latest lockdown.

The school was quick to adapt to the return to remote learning for most of its 340 pupils from 6 January, offering a combination of live and pre-recorded lessons to support the learning for pupils. However, it soon became apparent that many families would either struggle to get online or to have enough suitable technological devices to access learning.

As a result, an appeal went out to families, which resulted in parents donating old laptops and tablets to be wiped clear and handed out to those in need, while the school was also able to convert and loan out some of its own devices. In addition, one parent contacted the Medlock Charitable Trust, which generously donated 13 new devices.

The Friends of The Dolphin School set up a fundraising drive with the aim of raising £5,000 to buy laptops, software and associated technology such as chargers and routers, with one member commenting “We must do all we can to try to ensure Dolphin children are being given equal opportunities to learn and thrive.”

The Friends’ online fundraiser can be found at https://gofund.me/aaa50077

Headteacher Shelley Flanagan explained that many pupils at the school in Bath Buildings, Montpelier, came from large families where, when there were only one or two laptops, older siblings had priority. It was important for the primary pupils to have access to school online, she said, not only for the lessons but for other activities such as virtual lunches with their class teacher, exercise sessions and assemblies.

“We try to provide a variety of learning activities and also to offer as much as we can of the holistic school experience for the 75% of our children who are learning at home during this pandemic,” she said. “I am incredibly proud of our school community for the way they are pulling together and helping each other out at this difficult time.”

Parents also appreciate the efforts of Mrs Flanagan and her team. One said, “We are so grateful for the laptop – it has made such a difference. The teachers are working amazingly hard. Although things are tough, this crisis has brought out community closer together.”