Tawstock school celebrates superfast broadband connection

North Devon MP Selaine Saxby, executive headteacher Susan Denham, CEO of Openreach, Clive Selley, and chief engineer, Andy Whale.

North Devon MP Selaine Saxby, executive headteacher Susan Denham, CEO of Openreach, Clive Selley, and chief engineer, Andy Whale. - Credit: David Hoare

A village school which has been battling with its internet connection throughout lockdown has been hooked up to superfast broadband. 

Teachers at Holywell C of E Primary at Tawstock in North Devon have been unable to stream live lessons or provide other forms of remote learning for their pupils because of their poor internet connections. 

But now Openreach has provided the school with superfast broadband. It was officially connected on Friday, February 19. 

The chief executive, directors, managers and engineers who worked on the project have also raised over £6,000 out of their own pockets to enable the school to provide 15 laptops for their pupils. 

North Devon MP Selaine Saxby took up the school's case with Openreach, she said: “I was delighted to be invited to splice the final fibre to connect Holywell School to their new Ultrafast broadband.  I was very pleased that CEO of Openreach, Clive Selley, and Chief Engineer, Andy Whale were able to be there and also gave a cheque in excess of £6,000, which has been kindly donated by the Openreach staff, which will enable the school to purchase new laptops.

North Devon MP Selaine Saxby splicing the final fibre to connect Holywell School to its new Ultrafast broadband.

North Devon MP Selaine Saxby splicing the final fibre to connect Holywell School to its new Ultrafast broadband. - Credit: David Hoare


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“It was lovely to hear how excited the children and staff at the school are about their new connectivity and laptops. Also, how the children have been able to see the engineers at work installing the fibre over recent weeks, and many have been inspired to be the Openreach engineers of the future!” 

Executive headteacher Susan Denham, who is also head of Bratton Fleming School, said: “Our connection was terrible with constant buffering and lags. We all wasted time waiting for a connection and even then, there was often a lag. 

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“During lockdown, we have wanted to deliver some of our remote learning offer through live lessons to those pupils working at home but have been unable to. It seemed unfair that we couldn’t offer this provision when other schools could.   

“I took it up with the chair of Tawstock Parish Council, David Luggar, who contacted Selaine Saxby. In turn she contacted Openreach who decided to make us a special project. They've laid 10 kilometres of cabling to the school and, as a by-product, it means the whole village will have access to superfast broadband.”

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