Transparency data

Devices and connectivity provided to disadvantaged children and young people

Published 19 April 2020

Applies to England

The support that Get help with technology provided

From April  2020 to June 2021, and again from October 2021 to May 2022, DfE provided support for disadvantaged children and young people who were otherwise unable to access remote education, such as those:

  • with no digital devices in their household
  • whose only available device was a smartphone
  • with a single device in their household shared with more than one other family member
  • who did not have access to the internet at home.

This programme applied to maintained schools, pupil referral units, academy trusts and hospital schools, as well as sixth-form colleges and further education institutions with enrolled 14 to 16-year-olds.

They could also request internet access for disadvantaged children through increased mobile phone data allowances or 4G wireless routers.

Who could get devices

Allocations were based on free school meals or free meals data for schools, colleges or further education institutions. From October 2021, the programme also took account of the number of devices settings had received during the previous year.

DfE made devices available for children:

  • in years 3 to 13 who did not have access to a device and whose face-to-face education was disrupted
  • aged 16 to 19 receiving free meals in further education
  • over the age of 19 with an education, health and care plan (EHCP) who also received free meals
  • in any year group who were advised to shield during the COVID-19 pandemic because they (or someone they live with) was clinically extremely vulnerable
  • in any year group, including those in 16 to 19 education, attending a hospital school
  • in years 3 to 13 with state-funded places in independent special schools or alternative provision, who were eligible for free school meals

Laptops were also available for care leavers. A care leaver is someone aged 16 to 25 who was looked after by a local authority for at least 13 weeks (at least part of which was on or after their 16th birthday), but who is no longer looked after.

These digital devices were provided to help:

  • social workers to provide virtual safeguarding and support to children and families for example, through video conferences
  • children, young people, families and care leavers to access the online services they need to protect their wellbeing
  • families and care leavers to avoid social isolation
  • children and young people to access remote learning