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COVID-19 – Free Laptops and 4G Broadband for Vulnerable Kids

Monday, Apr 20th, 2020 (8:11 am) - Score 33,328
children internet surfing

The Government has announced that “disadvantaged children” (e.g. those who receive support from a social worker and care leavers) across England are to be given a free tablet or laptop computer and 4G based mobile broadband service, which is intended to help with their education during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) crisis.

The plan is part of a new push to make remote education accessible for pupils stuck at home due to the current lockdown. Apparently the Government will order computers for children in the most vital stages of their education. Furthermore they will also provide 4G routers, but only to make sure “disadvantaged secondary school pupils and care leavers” can access the internet if they don’t already have it.

On top of that the Government said that the country’s major “telecommunications providers” – we assume this applies to both fixed broadband ISPs and mobile network operators (it isn’t clear) – “will make it easier for families to access selected educational resources by temporarily exempting these sites from data charges.” Sadly they don’t provide any examples, which makes it difficult to analyse such a commitment.

As usual there are some other key details missing, such as whether or not the 4G router will include the cost of an actual service and, if so, for how long and how much data allowance will they be provided with? This is a key question since, for example, a lot of modern education requires a degree of video streaming, which if it comes from YouTube or similar sites won’t necessarily be covered by the aforementioned exemptions.

Gavin Williamson MP, UK Education Secretary, said:

“I want to thank all the teachers and staff who are working so hard to ensure vulnerable children and those of critical workers are supported at this time.

Schools will remain closed until the scientific advice changes, which is why we need to support the incredible work teachers are already doing to ensure children continue to receive the education they deserve and need.

By providing young people with these laptops and tablets and enabling schools to access high quality support, we will enable all children to continue learning now and in the years to come. We hope this support will take some of the pressure off both parents and schools by providing more materials for them to use.”

Just to be clear, if a child already has a computer and broadband access then they will likely not be eligible. Schools and colleges will also be able to keep their laptops and tablets once they have reopened. Separately the Government has launched a new guide to help parents with the education needs of their children during the current lockdown. Otherwise the full announcement is here.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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51 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Bonking Boris says:

    Free broadband where did I hear that idea? mm. next we need vulnerable adults.

    1. Avatar photo Moss says:

      Grow up, these are kids who have oor adults or adults that can’t afford laptops or the internet.

    2. Avatar photo Timeless says:

      grow up? it doesnt make sense, in the respect when Labour proposed the idea they were vilified for it. granted we werent in a pandemic situation then but these are the groups they were proposing to help (well everyone would have benefited in some way).

    3. Avatar photo Connor says:

      To be fair I remember being on a similar scheme when I was younger. We got given a laptop and a 3G dongle so it’s not like this is a new idea.

    4. Avatar photo prem says:

      ive lived out of this country for the last 20 years
      my wife died in 2017 then my father in 2019 i barely had anything except the cloths on our backs when we arrived in the uk there medical bills also my son who classed as autistic nearly placed me on thinking to kill myself and my son would be the better part of life the laptop given to us and the housing also medical for my son and evaluation to get a special educational school has been a blessing from the government I was a broker and a English teacher in Taiwan now im looking after my son 24/7 I am white mixed blood and proud of it.
      The help what we get just by having the internet for my son and for me to try to get something working makes things a little easier. You think i like where I am now after working hard to the top then having our world crumbly in the most painful way being 17 hours aday hoping for the mother of my son to awake from a close in coma for 5 1/2 months with my son and father there looking after all of them then watching her life go then watching my father from a broken heart suffering from C.O.P.D. died while holding my sons hand resting his head on my sons chest has they were the best of friends. Before you write something think with the gray matter that god has given you. I dont like being where I am and trying hard to make thing happen. These laptop have been set up only for educational and certain web sites to use they cant be used for games chat or other so called entertainment so they are for educational usage adults well im an adult are you going to say im a scrounger or say that I’m trying to move forward and make a new life for my son and myself even my own family disowned us due to the facts so that leaves my son and myself on this world so now are you going to say that we are scroungers or take back your words as a real British man would do

  2. Avatar photo A Buyer says:

    Ah yes I can see it now all the kids of scroungers with the latest laptops and free internet which I’m sure they will all use to better themselves.

    1. Avatar photo Vbell says:

      Who are the scroungers?

    2. Avatar photo #notascrounger!! says:

      They give children laptops of family’s who can’t afford their own…. it also states that when schools reopen the schools keep the laptops!! Read the full article before commenting! No one will be bettering thereselves when they are stored in the schools cupboard!!

    3. Avatar photo A person of less importance says:

      Have you ever been in a situation where you have ten pound for electric a fiver for a weeks worth of shopping thought not there doing this to help children who cannot afford equipment take your Karen opinion away

    4. Avatar photo Marie says:

      I’m a single mum with 4 kids at home 2 in college and 2 in school and I work part time. There school work was online and the 2 in college continue to use online classrooms. By time I pay my bills each month I’m lucky if I can treat them to a McDonald’s let alone pay a £40 internet bill and but laptops. My neighbour let me use her WiFi and we got 2 laptops on loan without this they would have missed out on so much learning. My kids are classed as underprivileged but I do my best does that make me a “scrounger” I think your comment and attitude is just ignorant. Just remember you get as much as you give I can’t imagine you get given very much. Sad really

  3. Avatar photo 105pear says:

    You would be amazed the amount of children who cannot access Internet at home because their parents are on low incomes nothing to do with scroungers!!

  4. Avatar photo Seb says:

    How obvious is it now that we need a Universal Basic Income? Imagine – we could end poverty (shocking that it exists in a first world country in 2020), give everyone British stability and an opportunity to build their own businesses and livelihoods… and a step toward beautiful hope-filled land without such a toll on mental health issues for those struggling.

    Nothing to do with Labour or Conservative, just common sense for a new world.


  5. Avatar photo Stu says:

    Seb that’s 100% correct!

  6. Avatar photo Heather says:

    What is the criteria to be eligible? Most people have broadband but not laptops. Surely they cant expect to only help those with neither of these?

  7. Avatar photo Queeneth says:

    How can I get laptop free please I’m at a private Academy it’s hard for me

  8. Avatar photo Ahmed says:

    How can I get the government free laptop
    For covid 19 home schooling
    As I cant afford to buy one is really hard for me to home school my kids becouse we dont have laptop or a computer
    Can you please tell me how I can apply
    The covid 19 laptop for my kids I have for kids to home school and no laptop

    1. Avatar photo Unknown says:

      If you call the school ur kids go you can ask them everything is restricted on them so you can only go on word or stuff like that and google classroom

  9. Avatar photo sharon Peters says:

    Please can you tell how I can access a table for a vulnerable student, at the special school where I work.

    1. Avatar photo Ann Monaghan says:

      Hi did anyone tell u how to get the laptop as i need one but dont know how to get can u tell me if u got one please

  10. Avatar photo sharon Peters says:

    Please can you tell how I can access a table for a vulnerable student, at the special school where I work.

    Thank You

  11. Avatar photo Georgina Gibson says:

    I have three kids years 4/5/8
    I use my laptop for my work for home and they need to access one for their school work . How can I apply for one as I can’t afford to buy one and keep up with costs of ink and paper and printing ?
    Many thanks

  12. Avatar photo Anisa says:

    Its really hard for us to do work because the service is to bad and the kids have no laptops it will be a pleasure for you to provide us with some

    1. Avatar photo You freeloader says:

      Get them to read more books….

  13. Avatar photo Pam Hetherington says:

    How can i apply for a lap top for my child please

  14. Avatar photo Lesley hall says:

    Hi my son is vulnerable and has severe asthma and special needs how do I apply for a laptop for him from the goverment

    1. Avatar photo You freeloader says:

      Give him the device that you are using to send your message…..

  15. Avatar photo Jenna says:

    How do I apply

  16. Avatar photo wwijadnd says:

    Netbooks free
    hi my name l do not have
    enough money a buy a computersadvancingeducation study and l always
    support the company l would de verynappyif youtube sendmeane free
    sample ample anything thank youtube so mch.
    POSTAL CODE:20320

    1. Avatar photo You freeloader says:


  17. Avatar photo Asanga bodaragamage says:

    Can you please inform me that how can get laptop for my children

  18. Avatar photo Andy Rochdale says:

    Don’t worry about the laptops it’s just another Government gimmick they are good at saying they are putting millions into this and that but nobody sees anything e.g food parcels for the vulnerable our council gives them one parcel a month if you are lucky.

  19. Avatar photo Jane brown says:

    Hi I am enquirying about the free laptops for my kids. I would appreciate if you could update me on this kind regards

  20. Avatar photo paul james goodman says:

    Hi I am on disability and have severe epilepsy ,my daughter’s 10, cant afford a computer for her, do I qualify for this fantastic offer?

  21. Avatar photo Nicola pace says:

    I have 2 sons one with is autism he’s 9 and love to learn my outher son with is 14 who has a Social worker as he’s haveing iusse Mental health this would help them bouth if thay had one

  22. Avatar photo Helin Köysüren says:

    Hi I need a free laptop also I am going to Poland disabled person I have a child we need a laptop it’s urgent

  23. Avatar photo HELIN KOYSUREN says:

    Helin Hi I don’t know how to get free laptop for my child I need your help please get back to me thank you

  24. Avatar photo Nicola says:

    I have a son which is 14 he has a social worker also want to talk to Siri and he is currently having issues and I could do with having a laptop for him to support him with his needs of work also I have a autistic son which has underlying learning disability problems and he is struggling not doing work as well he is nine years old this would help both my sons get on track at school whilst they’re not in school thank you

  25. Avatar photo Sameeyah rasheed says:

    I have my 3 grandchildren leaving with me with the lockdown I am 62and need everything to help them for school please help with laptop or computer and books there age are 16,14,12 thank you

  26. Avatar photo Debbie says:

    People need to think before using the word scroungers. What about women of domestic violence who have had to flee with their children and left with nothing ? Cant believe comments some jealous selfish people put.

  27. Avatar photo Sarah munro says:

    This would be massive for my girl with school work,just struggling with gettin one

  28. Avatar photo Emma says:

    I am a mum off 3 a,which that,should be in school. I filled questionnaire out about the free laptop/ tablet scheme,I have not received any pr hears back , can you let me know if we will get some help with home schooling.

  29. Avatar photo Hg says:

    I have recieved a free laptop for my autistic son because my was too hard for him and sitting in same hard chair was to much guys you can’t access App Store you can’t down liload dojo you don’t have full access to your computer and things like dojo work maths apps they can save bits in files but there some act like tt rockstars that you have to complete for 3 hours with out app to save it and for the man calling people a free loader o Hope sure in this pandemic you didn’t sign on you never accepted gifts or had mummy daddy money to help you through life at all because your no different daddy had a job waiting for a saving we work hard and the some that don’t aint getting
    Much from it no one chooses to be in a back ground but no one can to better for them self why there people like you running people down you poor child didn’t your family live you anough to show you respect for other we may be poor background but if you were starving we share are last food in cubbord if you were hurt we look after you ,you just spit in the poor but you if I had a choice yes I like to be able to have more for my children but if that ment there turn out spoilt selfish horrible jealous brat like you I rather them grow up with little and a lot of heart to help and care for other ain’t there somethink better you can do with your life then tournn m ent other people to make your life feel better god I wish that one day you have all work money striped from you and everyone left you on streets because I think money and daddy should teach you some life skills shove the silver poon up you back side

    1. Avatar photo beth tomson says:

      hey can i ask that what laptop did he get ?

  30. Avatar photo Amanpreetsingh says:

    Hii m asylum seeker.i have 2 kids i need laptop for them .how I can get laptop for my kids

  31. Avatar photo Aditya show says:

    Please offer my child free laptops. At the time of lockdown he was doing online classes suddenly he was telling that his head is paneing . so doctor told that he has have to take spectacules and take a computer or laptop .But during the lockdown we have no money.plese help us

  32. Avatar photo Aditya show says:

    My child wear spectacules for the online classes. Plese help. If we have no laptops or computer my child’s Career will damage. He have done one serial. He have a good career. Please help us or else my child’s career will damage. I am not blackmailing you.please help us

  33. Avatar photo Aditya show says:

    And your site is looking good. I think your site will help me

  34. Avatar photo Kinza Baloch says:

    How can I get laptop I am at private academy it’s very difficult for me I can not afford these things

  35. Avatar photo Siyam says:

    Thanks for sharing this essential post!!

  36. Avatar photo Jayaprakash D G says:

    Please give me one free laptop sir. Please help me.

  37. Avatar photo Newsronic says:

    We are providing a high & an ideal opportunity for Pakistanis to overcome their meaningless bounded activities,
    for example, scrolling over the web! Newsronic’s family demonstrated a productive way to make the Internet a more significant and useful hotspot for the average Pakistani Internet user.
    Newsronic.com is standing on the point of making a persuasive and overwhelmed close Internet,
    indulging a positive and perpetual change in the lives of the Pakistani Nation.

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