‘I would have been one of the families needing help’: John Bishop donates 100 laptops to his old school as he reflects on his own childhood and says it’s ‘unacceptable to write kids off’
John Bishop has donated 100 laptops to his former school as he reveals as a child he would have been one of the families that needed help.
The comedian, 54, said the pandemic has highlighted the ‘gulf’ in parts of society, as some children are unable to be homeschooled without the right technology.
John argued that sending kids to be homeschooled without checking they have the right devices is ‘writing them off’, which he said was ‘unacceptable’.
Helping hand: John Bishop has donated 100 laptops to his former school as he reveals as a child he would have been one of the families that needed help
The TV star, who was recently announced to be joining Dr Who, sent the laptops to Ormiston Bolingbroke Academy in Runcorn, which was formerly Brookvale High when he attended.
John said: ‘The pandemic has been difficult for everyone, but it has also illustrated the gulf that exists in some parts of of society – from the issue of free school meals, to the access of devices to facilitate home learning.
‘As a child I qualified for free school meals, so I know I would have been in one of the families that needed help to gain access to a laptop.
Childhood: The TV star, who was recently announced to be joining Dr Who, sent the laptops to Ormiston Bolingbroke Academy in Runcorn, formerly Brookvale High when he attended (pictured as a child)
‘When children are sent home without the tools to facilitate their education they are basically being written off and that is unacceptable to me.
‘My life was changed by the commitment of brilliant teachers and a supportive school and I know that ethos is still the same – teachers want to teach and the government have to help and not hinder them.
Admitting that the issue needs to be addressed on a wider scale, John said: ‘What I can do for my old school fills a gap, but the reality is that in 2021 our children deserve to be educated properly and that requires the government to provide the tools necessary for home learning immediately.
Injustice: The comedian, 54, said the pandemic has highlighted the ‘gulf’ in parts of society, as some children are unable to be homeschooled without the right technology (pictured with wife Melanie in 2019)
‘Because every day a child feels irrelevant is a day that we as a society could loose all the potential they offer. When this pandemic is over we do not want a generation of children who, through no fault of their own, find themselves left behind. Allowing that to happen would be shameful.’
The school’s headmistress revealed John got in touch ‘out of the blue’ with the offer to help children who may not have access to laptops.
John attended Brookvale High from 1978 to 1983 and the school and proudly bears his name on a Heritage Blue Commemorative plaque at the front of the school, in honour of his contribution to local charities as well as his services to Arts.
He said: ‘As a child I qualified for free school meals, so I know I would have been in one of the families that needed help to gain access to a laptop’ (John pictured as a child)
Principal, Kathryn Evans said: ‘John has been a good friend to our school and community since Ormiston Bolingbroke was founded.
‘He came in its first year, at the request of a young man in Year 11 who said it would be his dream to meet him.
‘Having made that young man’s dream come true, he has not been a stranger to us since. John came to help open the school officially, opened our recording studio some years later and helped us so generously stock the music equipment.’
Earlier this week, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson described how the Government is ‘doing everything in our power’ to support schools during the lockdown.
Mr Williamson said: ‘I know just how difficult the past year has been for parents and teachers, now more so than ever.
‘I want nothing more than for every child to be in the classroom with their friends and teachers, but with that not possible we are doing everything in our power to support schools with high-quality remote education.
‘These additional devices, on top of the 100,000 delivered last week, add to the significant support we are making available to help schools deliver high-quality online learning, as we know they have been doing.’
The Department for Education has said it will also publish a remote education framework to support schools and colleges with delivering learning for pupils who are at home during the latest national lockdown.
John recently joined the cast of Doctor Who for the beloved sci-fi show’s upcoming series 13.
The funnyman will take on the role of Dan as he boards the TARDIS alongside The Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) and Yaz (Mandip Gill).
It comes after John vowed to return to work within weeks amid his coronavirus battle.
Amazing! John Bishop has joined the cast of Doctor Who for the beloved sci-fi show’s upcoming series 13
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