Thousands more school children will get free laptops to help them study from home, the Department for Education (DfE) has announced.

Around 150,000 more laptops will be handed to young people from disadvantaged backgrounds who are still shielding or affected by local lockdowns.

It's an extension of the scheme announced back in April to support vulnerable families who may struggle to home school their children.

Pupils from year three to year 11 - or ages seven to 16 - may be eligible, providing they do not already have a device at home.

To apply, you'll have to contact your child's school who will be able to carry out an assessment and order a laptop if necessary.

The devices will technically be "on loan" to families, which means they'll likely need to be returned to your child's school or your council.

A DfE spokesperson said: "We continue to do all we can to make sure no-one is left behind as a result of coronavirus through targeted support for children who need it most.

"Children will be returning to school full time in September but it is essential disadvantaged pupils can continue with their education remotely if they are not able to attend due to self-isolation or a local lockdown.

"These laptops and tablets are in addition to the 200,000 devices we have already provided for the most disadvantaged children."

Who is eligible for a free laptop?

It's been introduced for children from disadvantaged backgrounds

The government is making free laptops available to people based on a set of criteria.

They must not already have access to one, and must be in one of the following groups:

How long will it take?

Local authorities are being instructed to distribute the devices as quickly as possible - but timescales may be different in different locations.

It’s worth bearing in mind that as with everything at the minute, the coronavirus lockdown can slow things down.

What about older children?

Separately to the free devices scheme, 16 to 19-year-olds in education without a suitable device or connectivity and whose family can’t afford these costs can apply for support through the 16-19 Bursary Fund.

Decisions on this are taken by education providers - contact your school or college for details.