Safeguarding devices

Information on content filtering and mobile device management to ensure devices are safe to use by young people and families.

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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 Department for Education (DfE) Get help with technology programme, as well as any new or refurbished devices received through donations.

Safeguarding and security settings on devices provided by DfE

Owners of laptops and tablets are responsible for ensuring appropriate content filters and monitoring systems are in place to protect children when they are online. Devices with pre-installed safeguarding software are available to select at the time of ordering. These come with:

  • Cisco Umbrella – content filtering software that blocks a range of illegal and inappropriate content and limits searching to the ‘Safe Search’ provided by popular search engines
  • Microsoft Intune – device management software that prevents users from installing unauthorised software or making changes to files and settings

Licenses for this software were due to expire on 30 September 2021. To ensure devices remain safe for children and young people to use, we’ve extended licenses until 30 September 2022. You’re still required to take control of the devices as soon as possible by restoring them to factory settings and applying your own remote management solution. Read our guidance on how to apply your own settings to devices to see the actions required to ensure those who received them can continue to use them safely.

All Chromebooks and iPads will arrive with virus protection in place. DfE Restricted Windows devices (with DfE settings) have Windows Defender Antivirus software enabled. This setting must be applied on Standard Windows devices (without DfE settings) before they’re distributed to users.

Information is available for each device type explaining what safeguarding software is in place, when licenses for these may expire, and how to apply your own settings:

Safeguarding and security settings for pre-owned or donated devices

New and refurbished laptops and tablets that have been purchased or donated can help supplement the allocation of laptops and tablets from DfE.

If you receive devices for your school or college through donations, you’re responsible for ensuring they’re prepared so they’re appropriate for use.

Information we’ve produced on content filtering, privacy policies and mobile device management is also relevant to any new and pre-owned devices. We recommend you follow our guidance on preparing a Windows device, Chromebook or iPad before lending a device to a child or young person.

The following information will help you make decisions on how to set up and manage these devices.