How to order laptops and tablets during coronavirus (COVID-19)

Prepare to order laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children in certain year groups when schools are affected by disruption to face to face education due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

  1. Step 1 Decide who will place orders

    Representatives from local authorities and academy trusts will be contacted by email and given the option to:

    • let schools place their own orders
    • place orders centrally on behalf of schools

    This choice can be adapted individually for each school. Additional users from within a local authority or academy trust can be invited to provide this information through the service.

  2. Step 2 Nominate people to manage orders

    If local authorities and academy trusts choose to let schools place their own orders, they can ask us to contact the headteacher or give the following information for an alternative contact at each school:

    • name
    • email address
    • phone number

    These contacts will have the option to invite up to 2 other people from their school to manage orders.

    If orders are to be managed centrally, we’ll ask if each school will require Chromebooks. If they do, we'll ask for some technical information so they can be set up correctly when orders are placed.

  3. Step 3 Prepare to place an order

    When someone is nominated as responsible for placing orders, they’ll receive an email inviting them to the service where they can:

    • amend existing contact information
    • add additional contacts to place orders
    • find out a school’s device allocation

    The device allocation is the number of laptops and tablets we estimate are needed based on:

    • the number of children in years 3 to 11
    • free school meals data
    • an estimate of the number of devices a school already has

    This allocation can be used as part of preparing to deliver remote education. However, the exact number and type of devices available will be confirmed at the time of ordering based on stock availability and the extent of coronavirus restrictions.

    Find out about allocations and what information is required if you would like to request additional devices for a school.

    If you’re managing the process on behalf of schools, we suggest you contact them with details about the offer, and how they can include devices in their planning for coronavirus restrictions.

    All nominated contacts will also receive an email from DepartmentforEducation@computacenter.com with:

    If you’re ordering Chromebooks, you’ll need to add the following to the Get help with technology service before orders can be placed:

    • a school’s Google domain
    • a recovery email address

    If you’re ordering Apple devices, you’ll need to provide:

    • an Apple School Manager (ASM) Organisation ID. This is a 7-8 digit number available when logged in to ASM. We recommend knowing this ID in advance to avoid any delay in the ordering process.

    While devices may not be available to order immediately, we suggest all nominated contacts familiarise themselves with this process and check they’re able to access each platform to prevent delays when ordering becomes available.

  4. Step 4 Place an order

    Devices can only be ordered when local coronavirus restrictions are confirmed. Once this happens, nominated contacts will get an email to say orders can now be placed through Computacenter TechSource along with a confirmed number of allocated devices.

    Email COVID.TECHNOLOGY@education.gov.uk if you need to place an order because the school you’re managing orders for:

    The full allocation can be ordered in one go or made in multiple orders.

    The available device types will be:

    • Microsoft laptop
    • Microsoft tablet
    • Google Chromebook
    • Apple iPad

    View the full specifications of these devices.

    When ordering Microsoft devices, a selection can be made between:

    • not having DfE settings installed - these devices can be configured with your preferred safeguarding software and brought into your existing device management framework.
    • having DfE settings installed - these devices are not configurable, with limitations on downloading certain software and changing the strict content filters that may prevent some browsers and conferencing tools from functioning. You will be reliant on DfE for technical support.

    Read more information about preparing Microsoft devices.

    For Google and Apple devices we’ll require the credentials described in the ‘Prepare to place an order’ step of this process to allow us to set devices up for a school.

    If an education platform is not currently in use, schools, local authorities and academy trusts can apply for DfE-funded support to get access to either G Suite for Education or Office 365 Education. More information is available from The Key for School Leaders.

    Once a selection has been made, the person placing the order will be asked to confirm delivery and contact details during the checkout process.

  5. Step 5 Receive and distribute laptops and tablets

    Devices will be delivered to schools within 2 working days of an order being confirmed, subject to stock availability.

    All devices will be fully owned by the schools or academy trusts who receive them. It will be the responsibility of the school to loan the devices to those who need them.

    After receiving devices and preparing them for use by children, schools can:

    • arrange for them to be collected by families from school, or
    • organise for them to be delivered to children’s homes

    All distribution and return of loan devices should be done in accordance with the social distancing guidelines relevant to your local area.

    The Computacenter Support Portal provides information on how to request admin passwords, report device faults and arrange a repair or replacement under warranty terms.

    We are also providing internet connections where they are needed.