Guidance for local authorities, trusts, schools, colleges and other further education institutions on managing DfE devices provided for children and young adults most in need.
Find out about the additional laptops and tablets available in the 2020 to 2021 academic year for disadvantaged children and young people whose face-to-face education has been disrupted.
Why DfE is providing laptops, tablets and 4G wireless routers
The Department for Education (DfE) has been providing devices since the 2020 summer term.
These are for families, children and young people most in need who did not already have access to one.
Devices help children and young people to access remote education. Some devices will also help to provide access to social care and other services to support safety and wellbeing.
Device ownership and responsibilities
Laptops, tablets and 4G wireless routers provided in the summer term 2020
Local authorities were responsible for ordering and distributing laptops and tablets to:
- care leavers and children with a social worker
- year 10 pupils who did not have a social worker and were in maintained schools, including voluntary-aided schools
Academy trusts were responsible for ordering and distributing laptops and tablets to year 10 pupils who:
- did not have a social worker
- did not have access to a laptop or tablet through another source
Local authorities and academy trusts own and manage the laptops, tablets and 4G wireless routers they received, and lend them to families, children and young people. Local authorities and academy trusts can choose to transfer ownership to individual schools, or where it is deemed appropriate, gift devices to care leavers, or children and families with social workers.
Safeguarding should be considered when deciding whether to gift a device, and relevant parties (such as social workers, schools and carers) should be involved in making the decision.
Laptops, tablets and 4G wireless routers provided in the autumn term 2020, and spring term 2021
Devices are currently being provided for:
- disadvantaged children and young people in years 3 to 13 who do not have access to a device and whose face-to-face education is disrupted
- disadvantaged young people in further education aged 16 to 19 and those aged over 19 with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP)
- disadvantaged children and young people in years 3 to 13 and those in 16 to 19 education who have been advised to shield because they (or someone they live with) are clinically extremely vulnerable
- disadvantaged children and young people in years 3 to 13 and those in 16 to 19 education attending a hospital school
The get laptops and tablets for pupils and students who cannot access face-to-face education due to coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance provides more information on devices currently available.
Representatives from local authorities and academy trusts were asked to use the get help with technology service to tell us if they wanted to:
- let education providers place their own orders
- place orders centrally
All devices are fully owned by the institutions that receive them. It’s their responsibility to lend devices to the children and young people who need them.
Reallocating unused 4G wireless routers
Local authorities, academy trusts, schools, colleges and other FE institutions can use the support portal to identify any 4G wireless routers that are not being used. They can then collect and reallocate them to children and young people with the greatest need.
Get help with the laptops, tablets and 4G wireless routers received from DfE
Get help with technology guidance provides information on
- removing DfE settings from Microsoft Windows devices
- repairing or replacing faulty devices
- 4G wireless router data and contracts
- help guides for children, families and young people using the devices received
- how to contact DfE for support with devices
Find out about further support available to local authorities, academy trusts, schools, colleges and other FE institutions through the get help with technology programme.
Published 7 August 2020
Last updated 4 February 2021 + show all updates
Updated to include information for further education (FE) institutions.
Removed section on device eligibility during the summer term. Added section encouraging reallocation of any 4G wireless routers sent during the summer term that are not being used.
Updated ‘Device ownership and responsibilities’.