Schools across the country are set to benefit from a new deal that has been reached with the IT giant Microsoft.
Under a new 3-year memorandum of understanding (MoU), starting on 1 January, all schools in the UK will be able to take advantage of improved discounts and better licensing terms across a wide range of Microsoft’s academic software.
Under this new agreement, schools will be able to use more of their budgets on frontline teaching rather than back office administration, with estimated total savings of around £10 million.
Education Secretary Michael Gove said:
I am delighted that we have been able to reach this new agreement with Microsoft.
Schools spend a significant amount on software licensing. Through this new agreement we can make sure more money goes on front line teaching.
Following extensive negotiations with Microsoft, led by Government Procurement Service (GPS) with the Department for Education, 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.
As well as offering better value for money for both new and existing users, schools will now have more flexibility in the way they license Microsoft software. They will also be able to make more cost-effective choices for using alternative and 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.
Steve Beswick, Director of Education Sector at Microsoft UK, said:
Microsoft is committed to ensuring that school children have every opportunity to perform to the best of their ability, as well as making sure that we are able to provide value for money for our services.
We are continually re-assessing the provisions that we make for UK schools in order to make sure that this happens. Today’s announcement represents the latest phase in that drive.
We know from our long-standing partnership with the education sector in this country that high-quality technology and software, combined with high-quality teaching, will help our children flourish at school. We will carry on working with the Department for Education, schools and educators to make sure that we continue to deliver this.
To help schools understand the features and benefits of the new MoU, the Department for Education has also published advice for schools.
This press notice relates to England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Notes to editors
GPS is part of the Efficiency & Reform Group in the Cabinet Office. It plays a key role in delivering improved outcomes and driving innovative approaches to procurement, providing significant savings for the taxpayer.
By driving procurement spend through its aggregated commercial procurement arrangements across common areas of government spend, such as travel, energy, and ICT, the savings generated can then be redirected into other areas, helping to protect frontline services.