How laptops and tablets were allocated

Find out how the Department for Education estimated requirements for disadvantaged children and young people.


How devices were allocated for pupils and students from September 2020 to June 2021

The number of devices we made available to order through the service reflected the number of laptops and tablets we estimated your school, college or further education institution needed.

This calculation was based on:

  • free school meals data
  • free meals data for further education institutions
  • an estimate of the number of devices a school or further education institution already had

We also provided laptops and internet access to support disadvantaged pupils in years 3 to 11, who:

  • had a funded place at an independent special school, or independent alternative provision
  • were eligible for free school meals
  • did not have access to a suitable device for remote education, and for use in face-to-face education

Allocations were based on the data each local authority submitted in the 2020 alternative provision census.

How devices were allocated for care leavers in 2021

DfE provided laptops and internet access to support care leavers who:

  • were aged between 16 and 25 years old
  • did not have access to a laptop or tablet from their LA, or any other source

Allocation estimates were based on each local authority's share of the overall care leaver population.

Laptops, tablets and 4G wireless routers provided during the summer term 2020

Over 220,000 laptops and tablets were made available to distribute as part of the first phase of the Get help with technology programme. The most disadvantaged and vulnerable young people and children were prioritised to make sure they can access social care and remote education.

The DfE considered all allocation queries raised by local authorities and academy trusts, and reviewed the submitted evidence against the initial allocation. DfE then compared those queries to similar requests received nationwide, and balanced these against the total number of devices available. More devices have been provided where there was an evidenced need to support eligible children.