They are piled high and ready to go! This was the magnificent scene yesterday as thousands of Mail Force laptops were made ready for shipping to schools.
The 5,000 brand new Chromebooks and other models are by now already on their way to classrooms across the country. Several thousand refurbished laptops donated by large companies will follow on shortly.
The lucky recipients will join the likes of Oscar Rowley, nine, one of several pupils at Beamont Primary School in Warrington, Cheshire, who have already taken delivery of their laptops.
These lifelines for disadvantaged schoolchildren were bought with donations from generous Daily Mail readers, philanthropists and corporations.
They are piled high and ready to go! This was the magnificent scene yesterday as thousands of Mail Force laptops were made ready for shipping to schools
The lucky recipients will join the likes of Oscar Rowley, nine, (centre) one of several pupils at Beamont Primary School in Warrington, Cheshire, who have already taken delivery of their laptops
An astonishing £10.8million has now been raised to help pupils get on the internet.
Hundreds of thousands of children on the wrong side of the 'digital divide' have struggled through lockdown without a laptop or tablet to follow online lessons and now, with schools reopening, they still face an enormous struggle to catch up.
Mail Force has been working hard to source devices – and yesterday's shipment was the biggest yet.
More than 5,000 have been sent by courier to schools in more than 100 towns and villages in all corners of England, from Warminster to Wolverhampton and from Northampton to Newcastle upon Tyne. Separate shipments are being prepared for elsewhere in the UK.
More than 5,000 have been sent by courier to schools in more than 100 towns and villages in all corners of England
How to get SIM data cards
Schools can request free SIM cards at www.vodafone.co.uk/mailforce. Headteachers can request a maximum of 80 for a secondary and 50 for a primary.
Cards are allocated on first-come-first-served basis, but priority is given to areas with higher numbers of free-school-meal pupils.
Schools with lower numbers of such pupils will be capped at 20 to 50 SIMs. SIM cards are dispatched by courier to schools in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Head teachers allocate the SIMs to pupils. Inserted into a mobile phone, each SIM gives 30Gb of free data – enough for approximately nine weeks of online learning.
All the Mail Force devices were requested by schools via the Department for Education's online portal.
They were then gathered in the high security warehouse of the Mail's IT partner in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, where they went though final checks before being shipped.
It is a huge operation, and all the boxes containing laptops in this picture are already on their way to children. Many will have arrived by the time this newspaper is published.
There has also been great demand for the other Mail Force initiative – free Vodafone data SIM cards for pupils.
The charity has bought 150,000 SIM cards, each with 30Gb of data to keep a schoolchild online for approximately nine weeks' worth of lessons.
The Vodafone SIM cards can be inserted in a mobile phone which then acts as a wi-fi hotspot for nearby devices such as laptops and tablets.
Children face a huge challenge to catch up on a year of disrupted learning, according to schools minister Baroness Berridge, who told the House of Lords that ensuring they had devices at home was a 'long term' strategy.
All six living Prime Ministers have praised the Mail Force initiative to get devices and data cards to children who need them.
HOW TO DONATE TO COMPUTERS FOR KIDS
CLICK HERE TO DONATE
TO YOU, THE READER: How to send us donations
The Daily Mail has launched a brand new campaign, Computers For Kids, to raise money for Mail Force – a charity which aims to provide much needed school equipment and resources for pupils across the UK learning from home.
With schools closed, we are left with the dilemma of hundreds of thousands of pupils in the UK having no access to a computer in their home.
As part of this campaign, companies are donating their old laptops which, for around £15, can be wiped, professionally refurbished and made safe and fit for home schooling. They can then be delivered to a child or young person who needs one.
In addition, the campaign is looking to support children's needs in other ways such as funding brand new laptops and tablets, and assisting with data access and connectivity for online learning. Any surplus funds will be used to support of the work of UK schools via other means.
TO MAKE A DONATION ONLINE
Visit mailforcecharity.co.uk/donate and follow the steps to complete your donation.
Please don't send us your old device.
TO MAKE A DONATION VIA YOUR PHONE
To donate £10 - text KIDS10 to 70115
To donate £20 - text KIDS20 to 70115
TO COMPANIES: Could you give your old laptops?
Upgrading office computers is something all companies do from time to time – and there has never been a better time to donate old laptops. If you are a company with 50 laptops or more that you could give, please visit www.computacenter.com/daily-mail to check they are suitable and register your donation. We will arrange for collection by our specialist partners Computacenter. Please note: we cannot accept donated laptops from individuals.
COMPANIES SHOULD GO TO: computacenter.com/daily-mail
TO SCHOOLS: Where to apply for the computers
Schools must apply to the Department for Education, which is managing the demand and prioritising the schools most in need. The Mail Force initiative means more laptops will become available more quickly.
SCHOOLS CAN APPLY HERE: https://get-help-with-tech.education.gov.uk
Here's how schools can apply for computers
Schools in England can apply through the Department for Education. They should visit https://get-help-with-tech.education.gov.uk/start.
In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, we welcome applications from education authorities, multi-academy trusts or charities focused on children and young people. They should visit www.mailforcecharity.co.uk/register to apply.
Schools should encourage their LEA or trust to submit their details.