Fenland firm gift new state-of-the-art laptops to academy to aid remote learning

L-R: Clare Hale, Jan French, Neil Bowers and Richard Rushton. March-based Gold Star Metal Traders ha

L-R: Clare Hale, Jan French, Neil Bowers and Richard Rushton. March-based Gold Star Metal Traders have gifted TBAP Octavia AP Academy new laptops. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

A large Fenland waste management and metal trading firm has gifted new state-of-the-art laptops to one the region’s academies to aid remote learning.

New laptops for TBAP Octavia AP Academy. Picture: Archant

New laptops for TBAP Octavia AP Academy. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

Eight brand new Dell computers were handed over to Octavia AP Academy in Wisbech from March-based Goldstar Metal Traders.

The academy, which is part of The Bridge Multi-Academy Trust, was struggling give their pupils access to online work amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Clare Hale, a leader at the school, contacted Councillor Jan French, community champion for Cambridgeshire County Council, to see if she could help.

Ms Hale said: “I contacted Cllr French on social media and asked what the local council could do for our students.

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“I explained we just didn’t have the funding for new laptops for our students and luckily she was able to help us out.”

Cllr French visited the school on Coalwharf Road with fellow councillor Samantha Hoy and launched an appeal to find help for the school.

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Neil Bowers, co-owner of Goldstar Metal Traders, responded to Cllr French’s appeal and agreed to purchase the school brand new laptops.

He said: “I left school when I was 14 with no form of qualification.

“I had no direction and no help; this kind of school wasn’t available for people like me at the time, I’m 55 now.

“The school here is the sort of background I come from, the children need a chance and I was given one so thought it was only fair I gave someone else one.”

The school, which helps 35 students, has a maximum of eight pupils in one class at any time so the new batch will be fit for an entire class.

Pupils are set to return to the school on September 7 when the new computers will be rolled out to pupils.

Richard Rushton, head of school, said: “I’ve been head since May so I joined this school during Covid-19 where there was a lot of developments on how we use IT.

“One of our biggest frustrations was not having enough equipment to do remote learning effectively so these new laptops will make a massive difference for us.

“I’d like to thank Clare, Jan and Neil, particularly Neil for providing computers, Clare for all her hard work trying to find sources of income and Jan for helping find someone willing to help us.”

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