Important

Parents, carers, children and young people

Parents, carers, children and young people cannot apply for laptops, tablets or internet access. You should contact your school, college or further education provider for help accessing remote education.

Increasing data allowances on mobile devices to support disadvantaged children

This scheme temporarily increases data allowances for mobile phone users on certain networks. This is so that disadvantaged children and young people can access remote education if their face-to-face education is disrupted, and they do not have access to broadband at home.

Who can get help

Schools, trusts and local authorities (ordering for maintained schools) in England can request mobile data increases for disadvantaged children and young people in years 3 to 11 who are not able to attend school due to national lockdown restrictions. They must meet all 3 of these criteria:

  • do not have fixed broadband at home
  • cannot afford additional data for their devices
  • are experiencing disruption to their face-to-face education

Schools, trusts and local authorities can also make requests for children and young people who meet the criteria above, and are:

  • in any year group and have been advised to shield because they (or someone they live with) are clinically extremely vulnerable
  • in any year group attending a hospital school

Mobile data increases are currently not available for:

  • children who typically receive home education (also known as 'elective home education' or 'home schooling’)
  • care leavers who are not attending school or further education
  • students in further education

Which mobile networks can increase data

Children with access to a mobile phone on one of the following networks might be able to benefit:

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

Other providers will join the scheme at a later stage.

How to request a mobile data increase

Requests can only be made by someone who’s been nominated to order devices through the Get help with technology service.

For each request, we need to know:

  • the name of the mobile phone account holder
  • the number of the mobile device
  • the mobile network of that device (for example Three)
  • whether they pay monthly or pay as they go

There’s an online guide to help you gather mobile information.

Schools, trusts and local authorities need to submit mobile information through our online service. Each provider will vary in how quickly they process requests.

Once a network provider has completed a data increase, they’ll send a text message to the account holder. It’s also possible to check the status of requests through our online service.

Another option for increasing internet access

If increasing mobile data is not a suitable option for some children, or if a request for additional data is unsuccessful, schools can also request 4G wireless routers. Find out more about choosing help with internet access.

If you have questions

If you have any questions, email COVID.TECHNOLOGY@education.gov.uk using the subject line ‘Increasing data allowances’.