HMCK Charity

HMCK Charity: Technology Transforming Children’s lives

HMCK Charity on Transforming Children’s lives with Technology

We talk to the local HMCK Charity, aiming to raise £40,000 to help children affected by Coronavirus schooling issues be their best selves.

A charity named after an inspirational Wimbledon teacher is looking to raise £40,000 to supply new laptops for students in south west London who have been hit worst by school closures during the Covid-19 lockdown. The HMCK Charity was set up in memory of Heather McKissack, who taught chemistry at King’s College School in Wimbledon for more than 40 years before her death from cancer in 2018. She helped to establish the Wimbledon Partnership between King’s and eight local state schools with the aim of helping academically gifted young people achieve their potential whatever their circumstances. She was made an MBE in 2016 and was described by the headmaster of King’s as “the school’s equivalent of a national treasure.”

Under the Charity’s new “Transforming Life Chances” campaign, four schools in the partnership have identified more than 300 pupils who would benefit most from laptops and gain vital online access to education. They are Ricards Lodge High School, Raynes Park High School and Harris Academy, Wimbledon in the borough of Merton and Grey Court School in Richmond.

Andrew Halls, Head Master of King’s College School said: ‘Heather McKissack was one of those teachers who made everyone feel they could touch the stars. This campaign to help pupils achieve their potential by giving them the technology they need to stay in contact with their schools is exactly the sort of initiative she would have supported with the passion for fairness that marked out everything she did.’ Tom Gordon-Walker, Assistant Head at Grey Court School, noted: ‘It would ensure our students can engage, make progress and crucially achieve the best outcomes for their future.’

If the laptop campaign is successful, it’s hoped to extend it to the other schools in the Wimbledon Partnership: Coombe Girls’ School, Coombe Boy’s School, St Mark’s Academy and Ursuline School, all in the London borough of Merton. Like never before, the Covid-19 crisis has focussed attention on the needs of children whose levels of achievement suffer because they come from less fortunate backgrounds. Whatever the longer-term model of teaching, the coronavirus has created an urgent need for online access for all students in the coming months.

Heather McKissack saw partnerships between state and private schools as a key means of encouraging social mobility, which is already showing signs of slowing down because of Coronavirus.

The HMCK Charity is continuing the work which she was unable to complete and this campaign to get laptops to ambitious young people is the first project to be given the green light by the trustees.

Readers who would like to help these 303 talented students can donate now here.