MORE Tynedale pupils will be able to continue their education online after a North-East-based business purchased laptops and tablets for local schools in need.

More than 30 devices have already been donated to primary schools and academies in Northumberland, including Adderlane Academy, in Prudhoe, and Newcastle by financial technology business True Potential, with more expected to follow.

January’s Covid-19 lockdown means access to classroom learning is restricted for many students and the switch to home-learning has exposed a digital divide that exists in communities across the country.

With some young people unable to access the internet or having to share technology with their siblings and parents, concerns have grown that some students will see their education suffer as a result.

True Potential, which is based in Newcastle and employs 300 people, responded quickly by buying new laptops for schools. The firm is also offering a number of its unused and reconditioned laptops to schools.

True Potential’s chief executive Daniel Harrison said:“As a parent, I know that school closures present many challenges to families, including juggling work with trying to teach children, as well as access to enough devices so that the whole family can learn and work.

“As soon as we heard that the UK was going into another lockdown, I knew that, once again, there would be an urgent need for laptops and I was determined we would move quickly and do our bit to help - we contacted suppliers and bought new machines to be donated to local schools.

"As a technology business, we rely heavily on IT equipment and we constantly have to update our computers. That means that we often have spare laptops that can be reconditioned and put to good use, so I’m pleased we can also offer some of our own unused laptops.

“I really hope that these computers will enable young people to continue their education in these difficult circumstances.”

Adderlane Academy headteacher Emma Potts was delighted with the generous donation.

She said: “The donation of laptops to the school has been incredible!

"As we again have been catapulted into a position where children are being asked to learn from home, there should be no point where a child cannot access their education because of a lack of resources in their home.

"This donation from True Potential will have such a positive impact on the children working at home."

True Potential and its partner organisation the Harrison Foundation donated over £350,000 in 2020 to help manage the effects of Covid-19. The firm also provided thousands of food parcels to vulnerable and isolated people across the UK through its national network of over 4,000 financial advisers.

Northumberland County Councillor Gordon Stewart, who represents Prudhoe South, added: "This is a very generous offer that will make a massive difference to the young people, and hopefully the start of a good long-term link between the business and the school."

Hexham MP Guy Opperman also praised the local business for supporting the school.