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@EducationGovUK is providing digital devices (laptops and tablets) and internet access for some disadvantaged children, families and young adults.

This will help children, families, and care leavers with a social worker to access social care and other services to support their safety and wellbeing. It will also help them, along with disadvantaged year 10 pupils, to access remote education.

Who can receive digital devices and internet access?

Laptops and tablets are being provided for disadvantaged families, children and young adults who do not currently have access to them through another source, such as their school. Digital devices can be requested for:

  • care leavers
  • children and young people aged 0 to 19, or young children’s families, with a social worker
  • disadvantaged year 10 pupils

Internet access is being provided through 4G wireless routers for any of the following people who do not currently have it:

  • care leavers
  • secondary school pupils with a social worker
  • disadvantaged year 10 pupils

People aged 16 to 19 without a suitable device for education may be eligible for support through the 16 to 19 Bursary Fund.

Local authority and academy trust responsibilities

Local authorities are responsible for ordering and distributing laptops and tablets to:

  • care leavers and children with a social worker
  • year 10 pupils who do not have a social worker and are in maintained schools, including voluntary aided schools

Local authorities should work with schools to assess which pupils require a laptop or tablet.

Academy trusts are responsible for ordering and distributing laptops and tablets to year 10 pupils who:

  • do not have a social worker
  • do not have access to a laptop or tablet through another source

Local authorities and academy trusts will own the laptops and tablets they receive, and loan them to families, children and young people, or gift them to schools or care leavers.

How to apply for this support

Local authorities, academy trusts and other relevant organisations overseeing schools and social care have been invited to order devices.

Schools, parents and pupils cannot apply for internet access or digital devices themselves.

The application and ordering process

All local authorities and academy trusts followed the same steps to apply for and receive devices. The timelines were different for each organisation, because we prioritised delivery in this order:

  • care leavers and children with a social worker
  • disadvantaged year 10 children

The application and ordering steps were:

  1. Organisations were asked to complete an online form from the Department for Education’s delivery partner. The form asked the organisation to forecast the number of laptops and tablets they needed, and choose between a Google or Microsoft operating system.
  2. Organisations were contacted by the Department for Education to confirm the number of laptops and tablets they were allocated.
  3. Organisations were asked to register with the delivery partner’s online system ready to place their order when stock became available.
  4. All organisations were invited to place their orders.

When laptops and tablets will be delivered

For new orders placed by local authorities and academy trusts, devices will be delivered within 5 working days.

Over 200,000 devices were distributed to local authorities and academy trusts during May and June 2020.

Protecting children and young people online

Local authorities and academy trusts are responsible for avoiding risks to the online safety of the children and young people they provide devices to.

Devices are delivered with a web-filtering solution installed, or instructions on how to install this. The content filtering has been set up to meet the needs of children and young people of all ages.

Local authorities and academy trusts can choose to replace this and use their own content filtering solution to make it more relevant to the needs of the people using them.

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Getting laptops and tablets to children and young people

Laptops and tablets are delivered directly to the schools or local authorities named in the application.

Organisations can:

  • arrange for them to be collected by families from school (with a social worker present where relevant)
  • organise for them to be delivered to children’s and care leavers’ homes

This should be done in accordance with social distancing guidelines.

Get help using online education platforms

Schools can apply for government-funded support through The Key for School Leaders and access one of two free-to-use digital education platforms: G Suite for Education or Office 365 Education. The Key also provides feature comparison and case studies on how schools are making the most of these platforms.

Organisations can use the EdTech Demonstrator Programme to contact a network of schools and colleges who are already using remote education technology resources for help and support.

Read the other guidance on remote education during coronavirus (COVID-19).

Read other guidance on social care during coronavirus (COVID-19).

Published 19 April 2020 
Last updated 21 July 2020 + show all updates

  1. Updated to clarify that all local authorities and academy trusts have been invited to order, the majority of devices have been delivered and to set out the delivery timeline going forward.

  2. Updated with various clarifications, including emphasising that devices are for education and social care, adding information on protecting children and young people online, and linking to guidance on loaning or gifting devices.

  3. Updated to reflect policy and process development.

  4. New details of the offer have been added, including a section on getting help using online education platforms.

  5. Clarification on who digital devices and internet access will be provided to.

  6. We have clarified the role of responsible bodies in ordering digital devices for eligible children and young people.

  7. We added a sentence to clarify that the offer also helps local authorities supporting care leavers and children with social workers.

  8. First published.

Guidance for local authorities, academy trusts and schools on how to get digital devices, internet access and support to provide remote education and access to children’s social care during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Read the latest guidance for nurseries, schools and colleges, including information on opening to more pupils from 1 June.

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