A Bideford school has been boosted by a £29,000 donation that will ensure more pupils have access to IT equipment.

Bideford College received the generous grant from Bideford Bridge Trust to buy extra laptops for pupils.

The laptops can be allocated to students to use at home, meaning more pupils will have access to online learning during the coronavirus pandemic.

Bideford Bridge Trust chairman Peter Christie said the trust had contacted local schools with offers to help purchase necessary equipment during the ongoing pandemic.

The donation to Bideford College is the ‘first fruit’ of the initiative, and Mr Christie presented a cheque to Bideford College Principal Dr Claire Ankers on Monday (October 19).

Dr Ankers said the college was ‘really lucky’ to have received the ‘kind’ donation from the trust.

She added: “These will enable more students to access a remote curriculum provision in the event we were faced with any future or partial college closure again.

“The staff at the college are committed to ensuring that the young people of Bideford are not disadvantaged by any further disruption to education. These laptops will support us in this.

“In the longer term they will be loaned to students who need them for completing coursework, preparing for exams or require access to specialist software.”

Like all schools, Bideford College has put extensive measures in place to ensure it could safely welcome back all pupils for the new school year, including year group ‘bubbles’ and staggered lunchtimes to minimise crowding around the school.

The first half term has come with its challenges. The measures proved vital last month when Year 9 pupils were told to self-isolate as a precaution following a confirmed case of Covid-19 for a ‘close adult family member’ of one of the college’s students.

Dr Ankers said pupils have adopted the changes in a mature manner.

She said: “The first half term back has gone well with students adjusting quickly to the new systems operating at the college.

“They have shown they understand the need for these changes and as such have adopted them in a mature manner.

“Thanks to the hard work of the staff we have been able to maintain the breadth of curriculum on offer at the college by adapting and modifying teaching practices to work within the restrictions of Covid-19 risk assessments. As a result of this attendance has been good. It has been great to have our students back.”