#TheFeed – An introduction to Microsoft Training Academies, by Gerald Haigh

The following post features in the Jan/Feb 2017 issue of #TheFeed, our online magazine bringing you the best stories from Microsoft Showcase Schools and #MIEExperts, thought leadership, and news from the Microsoft in Education team. This piece is written by Gerald Haigh, and looks at the recently launched Microsoft Training Academies programme.

Head over to SlideShare to browse all the latest stories from this edition of #TheFeed:

Microsoft Training Academies

by Gerald Haigh

One of the most interesting announcements at BETT 2017 will be the launch of the Microsoft Training Academies (MTA) programme. This exciting extension of Microsoft’s commitment to education works by first identifying a group of schools demonstrating excellence in teaching and learning with technology, then supporting them as they share their expertise with schools that are climbing the learning curve.

Mandeep Atwal, who manages the UK Microsoft School’s programme and is responsible for the MTA initiative is hugely enthusiastic about this new venture.

"I’m very passionate about it. I see the MTA programme as a natural extension of Microsoft’s successful global Showcase Schools initiative, which identifies those schools making the best use of Microsoft technologies for learning. After all, Showcase Schools - there are 35 in UK – already commit to sharing good practice. Becoming an MTA builds on that, and with help from Microsoft, they can now take a whole step further in the supportive role by offering these free opportunities for learning and sharing. Knowing the schools as I do I’m confident that the sessions they host will be interesting, inspirational, responsive to need and, of course, good humoured."

And Alan Crawford, Vice Principal of Shireland Collegiate Academy, one of the five MTAs, explains:

"This initiative demonstrates a clear path in the Microsoft ecosystem for schools that want to adopt, embed and share their use of technology. If they choose to travel it, there’s route from being a Microsoft School, to becoming a Microsoft Showcase School and then ultimately a Microsoft Training Academy."

Alan goes on to explain the purpose of the MTA programme.

"It will allow schools the opportunity to host, throughout the year, a whole series of events on the use of technology to support learning. Importantly, this is not all about the hardware or the software. The intention is to demonstrate what can be achieved when there’s a clear intention, top down, with everyone on board, to deliver the most appropriate use of technology for learning."


The five MTA schools currently offering free workshops are:

  • Treorchy Comprehensive School, in South Wales.
  • Shireland Collegiate Academy in Sandwell, West Midlands.
  • Bolsover Church of England Junior School, in Derbyshire.
  • Danesfield School in Buckinghamshire.
  • Simon de Senlis Primary School in Northampton.

More information about the schools, together with details and timetables of the CPD programmes on offer, together with information on booking are available here.


Each of the schools offers, in its MTA role, a choice of six free Microsoft in the Classroom development days, consisting of interactive workshops devoted to Microsoft technologies, with particular reference to Windows 10, OneNote, Office 365 and its various and constantly evolving apps. There’ll also be opportunities to discover more about the use of Minecraft in the classroom, and a focus on STEM subjects.

The interactive nature of the events will provide ample opportunity for participants to engage with host staff and peers about their own particular concerns. Each school has its particular interests and specialisms, but every one of them will be offering a broad range of experiences to appeal to any school that’s interested in gaining a deeper insight into the learning gains to be achieved with appropriate and creative use of technology.

The MTA schools themselves are looking forward to the challenge of creating productive and positive experiences for the schools which choose to come along to their sessions. It will undoubtedly be a two-way learning process. Shireland’s Alan Crawford confirms this,

"As a teaching school we know that getting training from those that actually teach and use the technology is invaluable in that it gives real life examples of the benefits of our environment. Our Academy is excited to be opening its doors to others that want to come and see what we do but ultimately have a passion for making a difference in their own school. Change is difficult but achievable!"

You can hear more from Alan in the video below, in which he explains his school’s positive experience with Surface devices and Office 365, and the transformational impact of technology on teaching and learning at Shireland:


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