Parents lose £200 after school makes them buy laptops kids didn't actually need

15 July 2019, 11:47 | Updated: 15 July 2019, 11:53

The school offered to buy back the unwanted laptops for a mere £100
The school offered to buy back the unwanted laptops for a mere £100. Picture: PA
Mared Parry

By Mared Parry

The school told pupils that they'd need a £300 laptop in order to 'access their learning' but were later told this wasn't the case.

Parents are raging as they've been left £200 down after their children's school told them they needed to fork out £300 for a Chromebook, only for them to turn around and say that wasn't the case a bit down the line.

Many parents spent their hard-earned cash on the pricey device back in last September, when term started, after they were told the children needed them to "access their learning".

The laptops cost parents a small fortune
The laptops cost parents a small fortune. Picture: PA

Some families, who couldn't afford the Chromebook outright even signed up to payment plans.

The Manchester school, then known as Walkden High School was under local authority control and Simon Lennox was the headteacher.

However, things changed a few months later in December 2018 when it joined the Co-op Academies Trust and they switched headteachers.

When new head, Nick Lowry started it became obvious to parents and students that these expensive Chromebook that they'd spent so much on weren't being used.

Now the new Trust has confirmed that the laptops aren't needed in school, and have offered to buy them back.

However, the kicker is that they've only offered to give parents £100 for the laptops, leaving parents £200 down.

In a letter to parents, Mr Lowry said: "Under the local authority, the previous leadership made the decision to ask each parent to purchase a Chromebook laptop for their child in order to access their learning.

"I want to be clear, this is fundamentally opposed to our co-operative values. No parent should have to pay for their child to access education."

He continued: "The academy leadership and Governing Body has decided that once the finance agreement that any parent has on a Chromebook ends, the academy will make an offer to buy-back the second-hand device for £100."

Understandably, parents are fuming about this and have called the offer "outrageous" as they never should've had to fork out in the first place.

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A father told the Manchester Evening News: "Despite us questioning this several times, we were advised by the school that our son could not use his own brand new Chromebook and we would have to buy one through their scheme if we wanted him to use it in school. We even said we would get the same parental controls put on his, but they wouldn't have it.

He continued: "After spending over £300 on the laptop, we're now told by the new management that the kids do not need the Chromebooks and the school will buy them back from us at a cost of £100. Our son has told us that they have rarely used these in school. It's an absolute joke."

Another angry parent told the publication: "nother parent told us: "Parents shelled out £300 for them, some more, including finance fees, only to be told eight months later they're not essential as previously advised.

"Some parents are still paying off the finance for the items. School took two-and-a-half months to decide what was happening with them and have now given us just three days to respond to let them know if we're willing to accept the school's offer to buy back the books for £100."

The new school management admitted the laptops won't be used in school
The new school management admitted the laptops won't be used in school. Picture: PA

A spokesperson for the Co-op Academies Trust said: "This was a decision made by the predecessor school under different leadership. We're doing everything we can to resolve the issue.

"We wouldn't ever ask a parent to pay for a laptop, it simply does not fit with our values to ask any parent to pay large sums of money for their child to access education."

A spokesperson for Salford City Council said: “Decisions about school equipment are made by individual schools. Salford City Council was not involved in the decision to ask parents to buy specific laptops.”