For the 2020 to 2021 academic year, the Department for Education (DfE) is providing laptops, tablets and connectivity support to schools, colleges, other FE institutions, academy trusts (trusts) and local authorities (LAs) to help children and young people access remote education during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Laptops, tablets, 4G routers and free mobile data have been made available, if there is no existing access to a device or for children without access to fixed broadband, for:
- disadvantaged children in years 3 to 11 and young people in 16 to 19 education whose face-to-face education is disrupted
- disadvantaged children in any year group who have been advised to shield because they (or someone they live with) are clinically extremely vulnerable
- disadvantaged children in any year group attending a hospital school
- disadvantaged 14 to 16-year-olds enrolled for Key Stage 4 at sixth-form colleges and whose face-to-face education is disrupted
The number of devices available for schools, colleges and other FE institutions to order through the Get help with technology service reflects the number of laptops and tablets DfE estimates are needed by each school or college. This calculation is based on free school meals data/free meal data and an estimate of the number of devices a school or college already has and private device ownership. If a school, college, other FE institution, trust or LA requires additional devices, they can contact DfE and more devices can be made available.
These devices are in addition to those DfE provided during the 2020 summer term to LAs and trusts for children, families and young people most in need.
4G wireless routers and mobile data are provided on a demand-led basis through the Get Help With Technology service.
The DfE does not hold centrally recorded information on the onward distribution to families, children and young people. DfE has advised that devices and routers are to be used to support disadvantaged children and young people who are otherwise unable to access remote education.
Examples of this include disadvantaged children and young people:
- with no digital devices in their household
- whose only available device is a smartphone
- with a single device in their household that is being shared with more than one other family member
- who have no broadband, including where those families access the internet through mobile data.