Microsoft works with Department for Education to deliver secure cloud services to schools and students. Microsoft Office Pro Plus benefit, currently free for pupils at participating schools, will now also be free for staff in the UK from later this year

Microsoft is working to bring the benefits of technology and IT skills to people throughout the UK and across the globe. We share the ultimate aim of all of our stakeholders – to use technology to help improve education and learning, create opportunity, and raise living standards for people around the world.

In Education, we understand that when schools, parents and teachers use our products they want to be assured that their security and privacy are protected, particularly when computer services are increasingly being delivered remotely and data is stored via the ‘cloud’. Furthermore, Microsoft believes it is essential for schools to understand how suppliers will manage their information and ensure transparency. To help with this reassurance, Microsoft has recently engaged with the Department for Education (DfE) and Information Commissioners Office (ICO) on an initiative to create a new set of cloud guidelines.


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The guidelines contain key questions schools should ask their cloud providers and outlines Microsoft’s response. This is designed to provide assurance to schools, students, parents and teachers regarding how Microsoft protects users’ data and privacy. This assurance is in addition to the security accreditation that Microsoft Office 365 recently achieved from the UK Government. As of today, Microsoft is the only Public Cloud provider to achieve this accreditation.

Microsoft has today released its response to the DfE consultation which can be viewed here. We think it is important that all suppliers participate to ensure schools make informed choices and are pleased to have been involved with a broader IT industry group plus the DfE and ICO to help all schools choose suppliers who will act responsibly with their data.

Additionally, we are pleased to announce that Office Pro Plus for Students, a benefit that allows eligible students to get Microsoft Office 365 Pro Plus from their school for free will be extended (from later this year) to cover teachers and other school staff *. This development means that staff and pupils will be able to use the full Microsoft Office productivity suite on up to five devices at home including PCs, Windows-based tablets, Macs and iPads at no cost to the individuals because the agreement with their education institution covers them too.

In return they receive:

  • The latest versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Access and Publisher
  • Installation on up to five PCs or Macs, and Office apps on other mobile devices including Windows tablets and iPad
  • 1 Terabyte of OneDrive cloud storage (per pupil and staff)
  • Office Online
  • 50Gb email mailbox email
  • Real time collaboration tools (document sharing, class shared areas instant messaging, video conferencing and social networking.

Extending the Office 365 ProPlus benefit to faculty and staff ensures that teachers are able to use the latest versions of Office and the same feature set as their students. With Office 365 ProPlus teachers can take advantage of great Office apps and free add-ins like Office Mix to record and publish class lessons.

At a time when household budgets are stretched, Microsoft is pleased to be able to extend the benefits of Office 365 free of charge to the students, teachers and staff of participating schools.

Further details for teachers about how they can use Microsoft Office 365 effectively in the classroom are available here

*Schools must purchase Office organisation-wide for all faculty/staff via the Microsoft Volume Licensing programme.

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