We’ve introduced a new licensing scheme pilot for UK schools this morning, which introduces more flexibility, and potentially some cost savings for some of you. Here’s the summary of it:

Subscription Enrolment for Schools

The agreement option sits between our existing Select and School Agreement schemes:

  • The School Agreement (which is an annual subscription) has been chosen by a minority of state schools, when it has suited their need to have a simple, comprehensive licensing programme across all of their computers, where they need to have up-to-date software across all of their computers, and provides a way to license software with a low up-front cost.
  • The Select Agreement (which is a one-off perpetual licence) is chosen by the majority of state schools, as it provides complete flexibility about what can be licensed, and with no ongoing costs. With this, schools pay the entire software licence cost up front.

The new pilot, the “Subscription Enrolment for Schools – UK Pilot” (SESP), is designed to allow schools to choose a mix of subscription and perpetual licences, by allowing them to choose which computers they want to buy subscriptions for (which means they always have the latest version of Microsoft software). They can then license other computers with Select licences. It also offers options such as ‘per-user’ licensing, which provides extra benefits such as staff and/or students being licensed to use the same software at school and on their own privately-owned home computers. This offers a combination of low up-front cost and increased flexibility

image There are plenty of anecdotes flying around about school budget cuts, so keep this one ready up your sleeve if you need it! You may be able to use the scheme to save money on software purchases. Although bear in mind that software represent just 5-7% of the overall cost of school ICT spend, according to Becta’s “Managing ICT costs in schools” report. If you’re a network manager, it’s worth taking a look at the report before one of the other senior managers does – you don’t want them jumping to conclusions! For example, if they infer things from seeing this chart from page 6, you’ll want to show them the first bullet in page 7 which says “The annual TCO of ICT (including hidden costs) averaged around £50,000 for project primary schools and around £270,000 for project secondary schools”. And then ask them for some more budget!

You can read a lot more about SESP on our website, and I’m nearly finished on a longer blog post which summarises all of the detail succinctly – more shortly.