I read earlier in the week that Becta have had more than 180,000 enquiries for the Home Access programme, and have sent out 132,000 application forms for the free grant.

Quick summary: Disadvantaged children (think: who qualify for Free School Meals) in KS2 and KS3 can get a free computer and broadband connection, fully funded by a Home Access grant card. Parents apply for the grant on 0333 200 1004 , receive a special Barclaycard, and can then go and spend it on specific approved computers with specific approved suppliers. And it’s England only.

There are only 270,000 computers/grants available, and the scheme is allocating them on a first-come, first-served basis, so if you’ve not yet sent anything out to your parents yet, then now’s the time to get moving. If it keeps going at this rate, all the grants will be gone by the middle of March.

Where to get more details on Home Access 



A word of advice for your parents: Each supplier chooses what computer they supply. Whilst some are providing free computers with Windows 7 and Microsoft Office, some others are providing computers with only Windows XP and Open Office. My recommendation is to send your parents to one of the following suppliers:

  • Comet – because they are the only ones where you can go into the store, see their range, and take it away with you that day.
    And every Comet computer has Windows 7 and Microsoft Office 2007, as well as the Home Learning Package, which includes theDigital Literacy Curriculum

  • XMA/T-Mobile – because you can place your order in their high-street T-Mobile shops, and they’ll deliver to you at home within 10 days. 
    And every XMA computer has Windows 7 and Microsoft Office 2007, as well as the Home Learning Package, which includes the Digital Literacy Curriculum

  • Misco – because they’re the only supplier currently with a desktop. You can only order from Misco over the phone, although you can find details of the products online.
    And every Misco computer has Windows 7 and Microsoft Office 2007, as well as the
    Home Learning Package, which includes the Digital Literacy Curriculum 

Act now

I know it’s nearly half-term, but I’d recommend getting something out right now to the children who qualify for free school meals, urging their parents to call the grant line (0333 200 1004) to register for the application form. Before they run out of grants.