Safeguarding devices

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


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 will expire on 30 September 2021. You can take control of the devices at any time 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 have received devices can continue to do so safely.

All Chromebooks and iPads will arrive with virus protection in place. DfE Restricted Windows devices (with DfE settings) will have Windows Defender Antivirus software enabled. This setting will need to 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 are prepared so they are appropriate for use.

Information we have 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.

Safeguarding resources for schools, colleges, families, carers, and young people

The resources below include detailed guidance for schools and colleges on safe remote education, virtual lessons, and live streaming. There's also information on how to make sure children and young people are safe online.

In conversations with parents, carers, and children you should emphasise the importance of a safe online environment and offer support and advice on how to do this. It is also important that children, parents, carers, and school staff are clear on what the reporting mechanisms are if they have any concerns regarding online safety.