Agreement means schools can spend less on backroom administration and more on directly helping students.
A major new agreement with Microsoft will save schools millions of pounds which can be used to continue raising standards for students.
The new memorandum of understanding (MoU) means all schools in the UK will be able to take advantage of discounts and better licensing terms across a wide range of Microsoft’s academic software.
The agreement, which runs until June 2018, means schools are in line to save an estimated £30 million, and gives them greater flexibility in their use of Microsoft software.
It also ensures that, while schools are offered excellent value for money, they are under no contractual commitment, and all schools remain free to find their own alternative software.
Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said:
Technology is an integral part of school life and this new agreement will help schools around the country save money and improve outcomes for all.
We want schools to be able to focus their resources on what matters most - teaching - and this agreement will help them do precisely that.
Steve Beswick, Director of Education Sector at Microsoft UK, said:
Microsoft is committed to empowering every student to achieve more. This agreement will enable schools to put the latest cloud-enabled technology in classrooms and facilitate high-quality teaching, in order to give children every opportunity to flourish at school.
It also provides a dynamic way of enabling our UK education customers to transition to the cloud, and achieve significant savings over traditional technology infrastructure.
Following negotiations with Microsoft, led by the Department for Education in conjunction with Crown Commercial Service, the new agreement builds on an existing arrangement that has operated with Microsoft since 2004.
It secures improved benefits based on the entire UK schools’ software spend with Microsoft, but involves no financial or contractual commitment for schools or the Department for Education. The latest agreement came into effect on 1 January 2016 and runs until June 2018.
As well as offering better value for money for both new and existing users, UK schools which choose to use Microsoft software will now have more flexibility in the way they license it.
All schools will continue to be free to use alternative solutions, including free-to-use software. This reflects the government’s policy to give schools greater autonomy and control over how they spend their money and use resources.