Devices for children arriving under Operation Warm Welcome
Since the start of the pandemic, the government has distributed over 1.35 million laptops and tablets to schools, trusts, local authorities and further education providers for disadvantaged children and young people.
It was announced on 22 October that the Get help with technology (GHwT) service will provide an additional 500,000 laptops and tablets for children and young people throughout autumn and winter 2021/22 to support their education and help keep them connected. Up to 6,000 of these laptops will be available for children entering the UK from Afghanistan under Operation Warm Welcome. Schools and colleges will be able to order devices for these children until February 2022.
These laptops and tablets are owned by schools, trusts, local authorities or further education providers who can lend them to eligible children and young people.
All children in years 3–13 or 16 to 19 education who have arrived in the UK under Operation Warm Welcome and joined your school this academic year are eligible. A school or college can order one device for each eligible child.
To order, sign in to your account at Get help with technology, then select ‘Order devices and routers’. There’s a link to the order form under the heading ‘Operation Warm Welcome’.
The form will request information, including device numbers required, device type, and age of pupils. Schools or colleges should order devices for children they expect to be staying in their school for at least the remainder of the term.
During the ordering process, schools will be asked to fill out a declaration confirming that:
- these devices will be provided only to eligible children
- the school will undertake safeguarding duties, and record the arrangements they have with families.
This information will then be verified. Schools may later be asked to provide evidence of how they’ve distributed devices consistent with our agreement.
Schools may also be able to find support through other organisations that work with children and young people from Afghanistan, such as the Barnardo’s device and connectivity initiative.
Who owns the devices?
Ownership of laptops and tablets is transferred from the Department for Education (DfE) to the academy trusts, schools, colleges and further education institutions that have received them.
Device owners are able to choose how and when to temporarily lend, or permanently give, devices to children and young people in need, or to other organisations.
DfE expects organisations to decide how best to make devices available to disadvantaged children and young people so they can access remote education, face-to-face learning and online social care when needed. Find out more about who owns the devices.
Schools and colleges should keep a record of agreements between their organisation and families, a record of who each device has gone to, and whether it has been gifted, lent or returned. DfE may request this information to verify compliance with the declaration filled in when ordering devices.
Local authorities, academy trusts, schools, colleges and further education institutions all have a responsibility to keep children and young people safe online.
This applies where laptops and tablets are provided through the Get help with technology programme, as well as any new or refurbished devices received through donations.
Laptops and tablets ordered from October 2021 onwards are delivered with factory settings and do not have any DfE-managed software installed. Device owners are responsible for ensuring appropriate content filters and device management systems are in place.
For devices delivered in academic year 2021/22, we are making a grant available to contribute towards the technical support costs of setting up devices received through GHwT. Find out more about these grants, including the eligibility criteria.
English as an additional language
When setting up a device, consider the specific child’s needs such as native language. You can install language packs during the setup process, for example.
Some devices, such as Windows tablets and iPads, will be able to accommodate onscreen keyboards for different languages. For physical keyboards, there are alternative keyboard layout keyboards, or overlay stickers.
What if a child moves to another setting?
We are aware that families arriving under Operation Warm Welcome may relocate within the UK, with the children moving to another school or college.
It’s up to your organisation to decide whether to give a device to a child, transfer ownership to the new school, or request the device back. You should carefully consider the individual’s needs when making this decision.
If you choose to give a device to a child leaving your educational setting, you should make sure that it’ll remain usable once the child has left.
Where ownership of a device transfers to the child’s new school or college, it’s for you to agree the details of the transfer with the new school. You may want to return the device to factory settings. Tell the new school what changes have been made, so it can be appropriately set up and secured again.
If you request the device back from the child, you should let them know that they can request a device from their new school.
In all cases, but particularly where a child is moving school or college, you should encourage pupils to store their work in the cloud. This will allow a child to access their previous schoolwork after they’ve left an educational setting. If settings do not use cloud-based technology, they should consider alternative ways to ensure pupils have access to their schoolwork if they move settings.
Find out more about moving your school to the cloud.
Lost, stolen or sold devices
You should make clear to recipients of devices that it’s unlawful for any lent device to be sold by a student or their family. If a lent device is lost, stolen or sold, or where recall is not possible, you should follow any existing procedures you have for lost, stolen or missing devices.
If you have any safeguarding concerns relating to a device you suspect has been lost, stolen or sold, you should contact us.