KCS school supplies offers more products to parents home learning through its Connect website

A Kent company supplying schools and nurseries with educational resources is expanding its online shop to parents who once again are tasked with homeschooling.

At the start of the first lockdown in March KCS - one of the UK's largest school suppliers - switched from restocking schools in bulk to selling smaller quantities of stationary, arts and crafts and outdoor toys to families working and learning at home.

KCS says it is stocking items suitable for learning and playing at home
KCS says it is stocking items suitable for learning and playing at home

The initial plan was to keep the Connect website running just until schools in the county returned to normality.

But with a second round of closures now in place, and families once again faced with the prospect of weeks of homeschooling, the Aylesford-based firm has stepped in again to see if it can help.

Unlike the first lockdown where the rapid roll out of the new site meant that parents' orders and payments had to be taken by phone, a new and improved online ordering system with secure payment portal is now available to enable families to fill an online basket and checkout themselves making ordering quicker and easier. Next day delivery is available too.

Those behind the Connect website thought initially the website would only run until the end of the first round of school closures
Those behind the Connect website thought initially the website would only run until the end of the first round of school closures

But more importantly perhaps, is a bigger range of items now on-sale to parents and carers who may be in desperate need of new equipment or entertainment for youngsters who are unable to go to the classroom. Thousands more individual items have been made available to parents, ranging from indoor games and learning tools to outdoor toys, all handpicked to support children's learning and playing indoors.

The relaunched website - billed as a home learning and support hub - is also now working in partnership with The Education People and lesson planning experts PlanBee to also offer home learners downloadable and watchable educational content, much of which is free.

Group Marketing Manager Paul Ratcliffe said: “Connect was originally launched in March as a direct response to the pandemic, supporting teachers, parents, carers and learners through the sudden closure of schools and the instant need for home learning.

“Because of the urgency in getting it live, the original catalogue was small and focused on curriculum essentials and hard-to-find classroom resources, and a member of our customer experience team took payment over the phone. Despite this we sent thousands of orders to families all over the UK.

“As well as the ability to order and pay for our products online, we now offer an ever- growing range of downloadable and watchable content, most of it free, for parents to use as they wish. This includes educational activities and learning guides, links to videos and online lessons and, crucially, advice and information on coping with the pandemic with a focus on mental health and wellbeing."

KCS is expanding what it can offer parents
KCS is expanding what it can offer parents

He added: “We have tried to build a resource that contains everything needed to support families at home.

“What’s key for us is that this remains a community support project in partnership with curriculum and teaching experts and is something that we will continue to develop.”

To view the new website and see what is available visit kcsconnect.co.uk.

Read more family related news from across the county by clicking here.

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