Kelford School’s Purple Class, pictured in front of their classroom’s broken door that the intruder is believed to have entered through.
A Rotherham school has raised more than £1000 in an attempt to recover the cost of stolen and damaged specialist equipment.
Kelford School, an establishment for children with severe learning difficulties, was burgled in the early hours of 8 November, and then again the following day.
The intruder smashed glass windows and doors to access classrooms in the primary and secondary areas of the school, taking equipment that the children at Kelford rely on for learning. This included iPads, laptops, and two-way radios – all used to enable communication between staff and students.
Some items were recovered next to the school’s perimeter fence, but suffered water damage as a result of that weekend’s heavy rainfall that caused devastating floods throughout South Yorkshire.
Sam Billham, part of the behaviour support team at the school, opened a JustGiving crowdfunding page on 9 November. She initially set the target at £500, but after receiving £300 in less than 24 hours, decided to double it. Including offline donations, the total raised currently stands at £1233.
Sam said: “The money raised will replace some of the equipment, but doesn’t come close to covering the cost as the iPads and specialist programs are quite expensive.”
Jacky Tattershall, the school’s headteacher, said that the burglaries have caused significant disruption to the day-to-day running of the school.
“A lot of our children are non-verbal so need to use technology to help them communicate.
“On the iPads we can download communication apps that allow the children to select what they want or need using a picture.
“The iPads taken with those apps on them prevented children from having access to the communication system that they rely on.”
Jacky added that cameras and recording equipment were also stolen. These are used to collect visual evidence of the children’s progress over long periods of time, as some pupils are physically unable to produce written work.
South Yorkshire Police confirmed that the earlier break-in occurred at 4.30am on 8 November, with the following incident taking place at approximately 5.10am on 9 November.
Local resident Wayne White, 47, was arrested on 9 November, and charged with burglary in relation to the incident the following day.
The school are working with the police and security firms, hoping to increase security within the school without impacting on the quality of the environment or ease of access for the children.