• Ash Ali, Headteacher
  • Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames
  • Co-educational secondary school with a sports centre founded in 1989


Tell us about yourself?

I’m Ash Ali and I’m very proud to be the Headteacher of Chessington School. It is a mixed comprehensive school with children from a range of backgrounds. We want every version of every child because we love every version of every child.

How has Dons Local Action’s Keep Kids Connected initiative helped you?

The government has done a good deal in giving us devices for those families that struggle or are disadvantaged and that has been fantastic, it’s been plugging a gap that was much needed. But there’s another gap, that of the hardworking family who have 4 children. That will mean 6 laptops. That’s a bit much for most families, but because your donors took the time to respond to the Keep Kids Connected rallying call, you’ve created a real hub of learning, not just on behalf of our disadvantaged or vulnerable families, but those families who can now have access all day, every day to live learning.

Why is having a laptop important for a child’s learning?

We need to start seeing devices, not as a nice thing to have – they should be seen as a necessity in order to participate in 21st century education. If a child is to access high quality information they need access to the internet. When I did my masters, I used Google Scholar the whole time. Why aren’t young people afforded that same opportunity. They need to be able to utilise BBC Bitesize, to go onto Class Charts, to go onto Show My Homework, Mathwatch, Hegarty Maths, all of these programmes that exist out there. We’ve got to give children the gateway to get there.

Why should people consider donating a laptop or giving items via our wish list?

By donating to Keep Kids Connected you are giving young people access to the education they so richly deserve. You are giving them what their friend next door has that maybe they couldn’t have afforded. Donations made so far through Keep Kids Connected have helped young people across this area get through lockdown, stay connected, be with their teachers, see their friends and keep learning. By donating moving forward, you will give them access to the education beyond their teachers and beyond the walls for the school. You will give them that absolute boost that they need to be able to take on the next steps in their lives.