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Tech Equal teams up with Spark Tees Valley to offer training sessions

Tech Equal, a charity backed by Teesside entrepreneur Dean Benson, has launched to stamp out digital inequality in schools by providing every child with an iPad.

The organisation which is currently working with 15 primary schools in Middlesbrough, has also teamed up with Spark Tees Valley to deliver training to teachers and school aides to ensure they are also fully equipped to be able to teach from a digital device.

Office of National Statistics data shows 1.7 million children don’t have access to a computer or device at home, leaving them reliant on schools to fill the void. Education settings, meanwhile, are also struggling to ensure they can supply devices on a one-to-one basis.

Dean Benson, founder of Tech Equal, said: “Giving every single child in Middlesbrough an equal opportunity to be immersed in a digital world and have the tools needed is vital to make sure we fully unlock the potential of our next generation.

“It’s simple, it’s the right thing to do and we’re already making huge steps towards this goal.”

With the first 15 schools on board, the Tech Equal team will focus on fundraising to get the devices to their pupils and building a working model that can be re-used and replicated for all children that need access to individual devices within their learning environment.

Sarah Heward, project lead at Tech Equal, said: “Digital equity is needed on a national scale. We will be working with schools to ensure that e-learning is at the forefront of everything they are doing, providing ongoing support as we re-embed digital championship back within school culture.

“This isn’t going to happen overnight, so it’s really important that we have an open mind, open to things going wrong and finding solutions that are always driving us towards strong digital skill attainment and not shying away from it.”

The training programme, which will take place one day a week and last for 18 sessions, is being delivered by Spark Tees Valley managing director, Andrew Stogdale, who is Apple certified and has worked in schools globally to support effective use of technology in the classroom.

He said: “Technology is a fantastic leveller and even young children can produce incredibly professional work given the right tools and support. It gives them agency and confidence that they can do great things in the world.

“When I found out about Tech Equal I was compelled to get involved and after speaking to Dean Benson I was convinced that this was going to be a well thought out and properly managed project. We have now developed a first stage training program for the early adopter schools which will result in regular training and support for the next year.”

There are several ways local businesses can support Tech Equal, from sponsoring a child for the equivalent of 28p a day, to getting involved in the ‘Class Of’ scheme, which gives companies or individuals a more personalised experience with the chance to support a class group.

Tech Equal will be hosting a free event to launch the charity on November 24th at The Assembly Hall in Middlesbrough. Tickets can be booked at

For those interested in donating or getting involved with Tech Equal can make an expression of interest on the website, which will be followed up by a member of the team (