25th March 2020

When schools across England were told last week to close for all but a limited number of pupils, headteachers were suddenly faced with a completely new set of challenges: how do they help pupils continue to learn remotely and how do they support the most vulnerable children who have to remain at school?

Now Wokingham-based start-up company, LetsLocalise, has found a solution that can channel support from businesses in the region directly into schools in Berkshire. LetsLocalise launched in late November and, since then, has been running a pilot with a core group of around 10 Berkshire state schools. A state-of-the art digital platform enables schools to highlight the programmes and campaigns they regard as priorities for their pupils but which they can’t currently resource. Individuals and businesses then register on the platform and choose how they can best support their local school from the suite of priority programmes across a range of schools.

In its first few months, LetsLocalise has succeeded in bringing significant expertise, volunteer time and funding for equipment into its pilot schools. But, in response to the current crisis, LetsLocalise is refining its platform and will focus almost entirely on getting help into schools to see them through the Covid-19 crisis. The pilot will be expanded swiftly from 10 to 50 state schools across Berkshire and, as soon as possible, will be rolled out across all schools in the county. LetsLocalise will work with these schools to help them flag up on the platform the kind of support they need for stay-at-home pupils and those in school. For those in school, it could be funding for meal vouchers or stationary or educational games. For those at home, it may be laptops and tablets for those pupils who need them to continue to be educated remotely.

LetsLocalise founder, Gaurav Garg, said: “We invite all firms in the region to see how they can help state schools get through this difficult period. It’s easy to offer support via our platform and business can make a huge difference to how effectively headteachers and teachers can adjust to this new, difficult reality. “Schools and LetsLocalise have identified how we think business can best help but we are also open to innovative ideas from businesses and their employees as well.” The LetsLocalise platform is at Firms, or organisations, looking to help should register on the platform, using its Corporate Connect feature. The Pledge a Resource feature – which will be active from March 25th – will then enable them to see what is required from each school. Individuals can register and offer their support as well. LetsLocalise has funding to see the company through this next challenging phase and all services are offered to state schools completely free of charge.

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