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The DfE sets out new guidance on the provision of laptops and tablets for certain pupils from autumn 2020

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​The Department for Education (DfE) has announced it will provide laptops and tablets to certain pupils to enable remote education in the event of a disruption to face-to-face education because of the coronavirus. This is in addition to the previous provision of 200,000 devices and 4G wireless routers between May and July 2020.

Which pupils will be eligible for laptops and tablets?

Devices can be ordered for disadvantaged children in years 3 to 11 (not year 12 or year 13) who do not have access to a digital device through other means and whose face to face learning has been disrupted.

The DfE has presented the following examples of not having access to a device:

  • Children with no digital devices in their household
  • Children whose only available device is a smartphone
  • Children with a single device in their household that they share with more than one other family member.


What disruption to face-to-face learning makes a pupil eligible?

The DfE has specified that the following situations when schools can order laptops and devices for eligible pupils because of disruption to face to face learning:  

  • 15 or more children in years 3 to 11 are self-isolating having each been exposed to a confirmed case outside the school community and advised to self-isolate following test and trace advice.
  • a local health protection team has advised a group of children in years 3 to 11 (such as a 'bubble' or year group) not to attend school
  • a school or college is fully open, but supporting a disadvantaged child living in another area, unable to attend due to local travel restrictions
  • a primary school is only open to vulnerable children and the children of critical workers (tier 4)
  • a secondary school or college is only open to vulnerable children and the children of critical workers (tier 3 or 4)
  • supporting a clinically extremely vulnerable and disadvantaged child who has been instructed to shield
  • supporting a disadvantaged child who has been advised to shield as a member of their household is clinically extremely vulnerable. 


This means that devices cannot be ordered when:

  • a secondary school or college is limiting attendance by operating a rota model (Tier 2)
  • there are fewer than 15 self-isolating children within a school or where there are no broader public health recommendations for a bubble or year groups
  • In these situations, disadvantaged pupils that are self-isolating because of covid-19 symptoms or exposure to covid-19 will not be eligible for laptops or tablets.


Allocating and ordering devices

There will be a specific number of devices available to order for each school but the exact number available will be confirmed at the time based on stock availability. You can query your school's allocation here if you feel it does not meet your school's needs.

Information on how to order laptops and devices can be found here.

The devices should be delivered within five working days of a school receiving an order confirmation. Schools are responsible for either delivering to or arranging the collection and all devices received become the property of the schools or academy trusts. 

The full DfE guidance can be found here which includes more information is available on:


First published 27 October 2020