Guidance

Get help with technology during coronavirus (COVID-19)

Guidance for local authorities, academy trusts and schools on devices and support available to provide remote education and access to children’s social care.

The Department for Education (DfE) is providing a range of support to schools, colleges, academy trusts and local authorities through its Get help with technology programme.

Parents, carers and pupils cannot apply for digital devices or internet access through this scheme themselves. They should contact their school to discuss requirements for accessing remote education.

Get laptops and tablets for children who cannot attend school due to coronavirus (COVID-19)

For the 2020 to 2021 academic year, DfE is providing laptops and tablets to schools to help children and families in need to access remote education during coronavirus (COVID-19). Devices have been made available for disadvantaged children in certain year groups who:

Get laptops and tablets for children who cannot attend school due to coronavirus (COVID-19) provides information for schools, trusts and local authorities about how to apply.

These devices are in addition to those DfE provided during the 2020 summer term to local authorities and academy trusts for children, families and young adults most in need.

Get internet access for disadvantaged children

DfE is working in partnership with mobile network operators to help schools support disadvantaged pupils in years 3 to 11 who rely on a mobile internet connection when their face-to-face education is disrupted by coronavirus (COVID-19).

Disadvantaged families may be able to benefit from free increases to their mobile data if they’re a customer of either:

  • EE
  • O2
  • Sky Mobile
  • SMARTY
  • Tesco Mobile
  • Three
  • Virgin Mobile
  • Vodafone

More providers may join the scheme soon.

The amount of data available to families will vary by provider. Data will be increased until the end of July 2021. Schools, trusts and local authorities will be able to request these free mobile data increases for families during the spring and summer 2021 terms if they’re experiencing disruption to face-to-face education.

DfE is also giving schools, trusts and local authorities 4G wireless routers that they can lend to disadvantaged children in the event of disruption to education. This is in addition to routers dispatched to local authorities and academy trusts in the summer 2020 term.

Local authorities and trusts that received 4G wireless routers in the summer should log in to the support portal to identify unused routers and reallocate these to children and young people with the greatest need.

The guidance on getting internet access includes information on:

  • how schools can request additional mobile data for disadvantaged children and young people
  • how schools can order 4G wireless routers
  • the pilot schemes DfE ran using BT Wi-Fi hotspots and increased mobile data allowances

Manage laptops, tablets and 4G wireless routers received from DfE

Technical guidance for local authorities, academy trusts and schools that received devices from DfE during the 2020 summer term can be found in the laptops, tablets and 4G wireless routers provided during coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance. This includes information about:

  • online safety
  • mobile device management
  • warranties
  • how to contact a support desk

Apply for a grant and support to get set up with a digital education platform

Schools can apply for government funded support to access G Suite for Education or Office 365 Education. Get funding and support to set up a digital education platform has information to help schools choose and apply for the most appropriate platform for them.

Get funded training and support to set up and use technology effectively

Schools and colleges can access funded advice, guidance and training from the EdTech Demonstrators, a network of schools and colleges expert in their use of technology.

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

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

Published 19 April 2020
Last updated 12 January 2021 + show all updates
  1. Added O2 and Vodafone to the Get help with technology programme.

  2. Page updated to reflect school closures.

  3. Updated to include information on the increased help available from January 2021.

  4. Updated information on how to get a grant and support to use a digital education platform.

  5. Updated to emphasise the current offers and to encourage reallocation of any 4G wireless routers sent during the summer term that are not being used.

  6. Guidance updated.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. Updated to reflect policy and process development.

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

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

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

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

  14. First published.