Order laptops and get internet access for state-funded pupils in independent special schools and alternative provision

This guidance explains which pupils are eligible to receive laptops, and how local authorities (LAs) can place orders through the Department for Education’s Get help with technology service.

Independent special schools, alternative providers and pupils cannot order directly.

We recommend that you get set up to order as soon as possible to make sure you get your preferred choice of laptops.

Which pupils are eligible for this support

The Department for Education (DfE) is providing laptops to support disadvantaged pupils in years 3 to 11, who:

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

LAs can request internet access for eligible pupils too.

You might fund places at an independent special school or alternative provision setting located within another LA’s area. If so, you may wish to check if the local LA is willing to order, distribute and manage devices for eligible pupils at those settings. If both of your LAs agree to do this you should contact us (copying in your contact at the local LA), so we can transfer the appropriate allocation of devices.

How to get laptops and internet access

1. Check your local authority’s laptop allocation

DfE has asked each LA to nominate one or more staff members to order laptops and request internet access for eligible pupils.

If you’ve been nominated to order, we’ll email your LA’s estimated laptop allocation to you. If you have not received this email, contact us.

Your estimate is based on the data your local authority submitted in the latest published alternative provision census (2020).

You’re allocated one laptop for each pupil in years 3 to 11 that you reported as:

  • having a state-funded place at an independent special school, or independent alternative provision
  • also being eligible for free school meals (FSM)

You can request internet access for these pupils if they need it too.

Tell us if your allocation is wrong

If your estimated allocation is wrong, contact us and let us know how many laptops you currently need for eligible pupils. Do not include any personal data, such as pupils’ names or dates of birth.

We cannot guarantee that we’ll be able to meet all requests for more laptops. We encourage you to order your current allocation anyway so that you can begin distributing devices. We’ll contact you once we’ve reviewed your request.

2. Check what pupils need

We recommend working with your IT team and contacting pupils, families or schools as soon as possible to find out the following information.

Laptops

To order laptops, you need to find out which:

See step 6 to find out about safeguarding responsibilities, laptop ownership and providing IT support.

Internet access

To request internet access, you need to find out which:

You do not need to complete this step before moving on to step 3.

3. Complete and submit your contact details form

We need some information from you to set up your Get help with technology service account, even if you’ve used the service before. You’ll place your orders using this account.

If you’ve been nominated to order for your LA, you’ll receive an email with a link to an online form. You need to use that form to tell us:

  • your full name
  • your local authority name and 3-digit code
  • the delivery address we should send your laptops to (all devices will be delivered to the same location at your local authority)
  • the person we should contact when we deliver your laptops

If you’ve been nominated to order but have not received an email with a link to the form, contact us.

Once you’ve completed and submitted your form, it will take up to 5 working days for us to set up your account. We’ll let you know as soon as you can sign in and order.

4. Order laptops and request internet access

Once you complete steps 1 to 3 and your ordering account is set up, you’ll receive an email to let you know.

You can then sign in to the Get help with technology service to order laptops. You can also request internet access for eligible pupils.

You can order all of your allocation at once, or place multiple orders.

If you order Google Chromebooks, you'll receive an email asking if you want us to supply Chrome Education Upgrades (Chromebook licenses). Find out about your options for securing Chromebooks.

5. Receive laptops

All of your laptops will be delivered to the local authority address you provided in your contact details form.

Most deliveries will arrive within 5 working days after you place your order.

6. Laptop ownership, safeguarding and providing IT support

Your LA will own these laptops when they're delivered to you. You'll be responsible for making sure they have appropriate safety and security measures installed and maintained.

Find out about options for lending or giving devices to children, young people and other organisations.