Demystifying the Department for Education's Remote Learning Platform Provisioning Programme for UK schools - remote learning funding available

By Callum MacKay - July 21, 2020

What is the Department for Education Remote Learning Platform Provisioning Programme?

The Department for Education has made funding available for schools to have a remote learning platform set-up at no cost to the school. Schools can select this platform to be Microsoft’s Office 365 and Teams, which will then be delivered by an experienced Microsoft partner like Core.

What is a Remote Learning Platform?

This platform is intended to facilitate learning to continue in a safe, secure and effective way should access to school premises and on-site resources not be possible. In this case, the remote learning platform is Office 365 for Education and its single hub for collaboration and teamwork, Microsoft Teams.

The platform will allow you to:

  • Work simultaneously on files and documents
  • Record and share video lessons securely
  • Create accessible and inclusive content, which students can tailor to their needs
  • Collaborate between staff on school management, training, planning etc.
  • Create, assign, monitor and assess work remotely in one platform
  • Communicate with students, staff, parents/guardians in text, voice and video in real-time
  • Support students with secure and safe environment to learn, from any device and location
  • Consolidate processes into one secure, safe and engaging platform
  • And much more…

What does the programme include?

The programme includes:

  • Creation of a Microsoft 365 tenancy
  • Staff and students provisioned in the tenancy
  • Branded SharePoint homepage
  • Office 365 Groups created based on your preferred Teams structure
  • Security and Privacy settings and Teams Policies set-up
  • A two-hour handover session with Core’s Microsoft Solution Specialist to demonstrate what has been configured and the functionality available to deliver remote learning

How long will this programme take?

Once we have access to the tenancy and the prerequisites, the technical process can be completed within a few days.

How is it funded?

The Department for Education will provide a fixed amount of funding to eligible schools, once the programme has been completed. The funding amount is dependent on the type of school, but the cost of the programme will not exceed the funding the Department for Education provides for your school.

Is my school eligible?

Eligibility is simple to assess.

  • Does anyone in the school currently have access to Office 365?
    • If no, you are eligible for the programme.
  • If some people currently have access to Office 365, are all staff and students provisioned to access Office 365?
    • If no, you are eligible for the programme.

This means your school may still be eligible, even if staff are provisioned on Office 365 and using Teams extensively.

Are there any ongoing costs?

There should not be any ongoing costs directly linked to the programme deliverables. The programme provides Office 365 A1 licences, which are free and the associated cloud storage is unlimited for organisations with more than five licences.

What will teachers and student have access to?

Applications like Word, Outlook, PowerPoint and Excel, as well as services like Teams, SharePoint, OneDrive, Forms, Stream, Flow and Exchange. As this programme is delivered at pace, certain applications will be blocked as part of the programme scope for the purposes of ensuring safeguarding and data security.

The experience for teachers and students will be different, both in terms of applications that are visible and available and the permissions within those applications. For example, students will have access to Teams, but will not be able to Instant Message/Chat with other students, create their own Teams, schedule meetings etc. We can provide you with the full list of security and privacy settings and policies that will be implemented.

Do I need this if students are going back to school full-time?

The UK Government directive is for all students to be back in school classrooms at the start of the autumn term. However, there are two things to consider:

Firstly, we are not sure whether there may be further instances of lockdown or a second outbreak of Covid-19. In this scenario, staying engaged and prepared with your remote learning strategy will be crucial.

Secondly, Office 365 and Teams have far wider use and benefits than in a remote setting. Though the intention of this programme is to equip schools with the means to deliver remote learning, Teams and Office 365 provide a single and shared hub for Teamwork and learning across all scenarios. This includes classroom-based learning. Examples of this include:

  • Accessibility and inclusion features
  • Sharing class content securely
  • Assigning homework
  • Saving and storing lessons/content videos in a class team
  • Discussions in a Team alongside classroom learning
  • A space for community creation and collaborative learning
  • Monitoring engagement, understanding and emotional well-being

There are many reasons why a student may miss days, weeks or months of school. This isolation and disruption will be lessened if the student is already familiar and confident with the application they will be using remotely and if their educators and students are also using that platform daily as well.

Where can I register for the programme?

Follow this link and complete the form:

https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=v4j5cvGGr0GRqy180BHbR8OxR8KDk1BHllyTqp9sEZBUNEVJNDlRN0U1WUtQWk1KTjY5RDFCM1M3VyQlQCN0PWcu

Select Core as your preferred delivery partner and we will be in touch to introduce ourselves, confirm eligibility and discuss the process. 

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