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January, 2012 - Microsoft UK Schools blog - Site Home - MSDN Blogs
The UK Schools Blog
News and views from the Microsoft UK Education Team
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January, 2012

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    BETT 2012: School in a Box Presentation Slides & eBook


    Reflecting on a great BETT, thanks to everyone who stopped by our stand, one of the most popular sessions within our Theatre Stand was the School in a Box presentation delivered by our Schools Business Managers, Sean O’Shea and Mark Reynolds.

    Delivered in their unique and entertaining way, both Sean and Mark did an amazing job at presenting a new concept for ICT delivery within schools that supports the idea that there is an empowering alternative for school leaders in how they use IT, and the cloud in particular, to deliver next generation learning experiences.

    If you missed their session, or want a copy of their slides to share with colleagues, the full deck can be viewed/downloaded below.

    A copy of the eBook that stimulated the School in a Box movement can also be downloaded below.

    If you would like to learn more about School in a Box, Nviron, in conjunction with Microsoft, are running an a free half day seminar in Cheshire (J11, M56) on 6th February focusing on Cloud computing in Education. With a focus on Office 365, Live@edu and Microsoft Hyper-V & System Center, this event offers a unique opportunity to build on the content shared via the presentation and eBook above and learn how School in a Box can help transform how you think about the delivery and consumption of ICT in your school.

    Location and registration details are available via the Nviron website.

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    BETT 2012: Content available on the stand (QR Codes/MS Tag)


    On our stand at BETT 2012, we have some great content available. Ebooks, fact sheets, whitepapers and more are available via a selection of QR Codes/MS Tags featured across the stand. Visit us on stand D30/D40 to download them to your phone today!

    Alternatively, you can view and/or download a selection of the content available on the stand below:

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Primary and Secondary schools bought together with SPTA


    The IT team serving a large Academy Trust use Microsoft Technologies to realise economies of scale. They are promoting collaboration and making a significant contribution to school improvement across the Trust schools.

    Part of our mission in these blogs is to share the message that a well led IT team, by deploying and supporting appropriately chosen ICT, can make a significant contribution to a school’s drive for improvement.

    If it’s professionally satisfying to do that for a single school, it’s even more rewarding to be part of the improvement strategy across a whole federation. That, briefly, is the story of Phil Thacker’s work at the Doncaster based School Partnership Trust Academies (SPTA)  which brings together fourteen primary and secondary schools across the North of England.

    At the heart of the Trust is a Core Improvements Team providing school improvement and a range of support services, playing a key role there is Phil Thacker, the Trust’s Director of ICT.

    Phil came to the Trust with considerable experience in advising schools on the appropriate use of the management information systems and learning platforms and how they can support school improvement. Now, in his current role, he’s using technology to promote the most efficient and cost-effective ways of working across the whole Trust to support collaboration and shared best practice.

    As the Trust rapidly expanded from four schools to fourteen, with more growth to come, Phil saw that some bold steps had to be taken.

    “I said that we had to break the mould if we were going to reap the benefits and savings from true collaborative working.”

    What he has achieved, quite remarkably over a short period of time, is a completely integrated and centrally managed infrastructure for the schools, with a single Active Directory and a single sign-on for users. All of the Trust’s software is covered by a single Microsoft EES licensing agreement. The savings in time, and efficiency of this alone are considerable. In brief, what the Trust now has includes In order to achieve this, Phil’s made extensive use of Microsoft technologies and cloud services. He’s rolled out Windows 7 and Office 2010 across the Trust, and the AD is provided through a private cloud from a data centre that’s extensively virtualised using Hyper-V. The shared learning platform, Civica CloudBase , is built on SharePoint. All students and staff all have access to Microsoft’s Live@Edu which provides for access from anywhere in the Trust to SkyDrive for document storage, sharing and printing.

    The benefits accrue to this level of integration are almost too numerous to mention. For the moment – and this is a story to which we can return – let one example suffice.

    The Doncaster Partnership.

    Five of the SPTA schools are in and around the town of Doncaster. All five have sixth forms, each offering a range of curriculum choices for post-sixteen students.

    “Each school offered a limited menu of subjects to their sixth formers. But they were losing students to a Further Education College that offered a wider range of courses.”

    The Trust solution, underpinned by ICT was to link the sixth forms through technology so that students could attend any course at any of the five schools.

    “We said we’d create a specialism in each school – science in one, PE in another and so on, with the aim of offering not ten but fifty courses across the five.”

    As a result, with combination of online learning and moving between schools, Doncaster post-sixteen students can now pick any course in any of the five schools.

    The most striking result of this flexibility has been 100% increase in post-sixteen recruitment and a consequent budget boost that will bring benefit to the whole of the Trust.

    The levels of integration mean that a student can walk into any academy, log in with a single username and access their learning and resources, true nomadic learning

    Adding value and quality across a group of academies or schools by sharing services and specialisms is an aspiration for most school federations. In reality, it’s not easy to achieve in a cost-effective way, and the fact that the School Partnership Trust Academies has achieved so much through the innovative use of Microsoft technology means there are real lessons to be learned. We intend over time to look in more detail at some of their individual initiatives.

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    Using a BlackBerry with Office 365


    Originally posted on the Live@edu blog.

    Wouldn’t it be cool if you could use your BlackBerry to access Office 365? Well, now you can! Yesterday RIM officially announced that BlackBerry Business Cloud Services was available for Office 365 customers.


    Key features:

    • Wireless synchronization with Microsoft Exchange Online email, calendar and organizer data from a BlackBerry smartphone
    • BlackBerry® Balance™ technology, which presents a unified view of work and personal content on a BlackBerry smartphone while keeping the content separate and secure
    • An intuitive web-based console for IT administrators to provision, manage and secure BlackBerry smartphones from anywhere
    • Online access to employee self-service smartphone security functions, allowing users to easily reset a device password or remotely lock or wipe a device in the event of loss or theft

    The service is available today in over 50 countries. Customers can go to to get started.

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    BETT 2012 here we come!


    Happy New Year! Hope you all had a great festive season!

    With the holidays now behind us, its now all go to get ready for BETT 2012. After months of preparation, I can't believe its now only a little over a week to go! More will be revealed over the next week on the blog, but we have some exciting plans for our stand at BETT 2012.


    Once again, Microsoft staff will be joined by a group of inspiring and motivating teachers on the stand who will be helping us demonstrate how  both our technologies and programmes can make a real difference within your school.

    For those readers of the blog who are familiar with our stand from previous BETT shows, we will be keeping the same format. In addition to a demo stand where will be showcasing a wide range of our technologies and answering your questions, we will also have a theatre stand.

    Within the theatre, we have a packed schedule of punchy 25 minute sessions where you can hear a selection of motivating stories about how teachers are using Microsoft technologies in innovative ways to enhance teaching and learning and improve the efficiency of their schools. Microsoft staff will also be sharing the stage and offering a unique insight into some of our new products, services and programmes. More information on the full schedule of talks can be found on our dedicated Microsoft at BETT 2012 microsite.

    As mentioned previously, we will be sharing more information about the specific products and services we will be showing on the stand over the next few days on the blog, but one of the additions for BETT 2012 that we are particularly excited about is our Gaming in Education showcase zone.

    Within the Gaming in Education showcase zone, we will be demonstrating some of the new Playful Learning titles and also, utilising the impressive K-Team, showing how the Kinect SDK is being used to engage learners in exciting new ways. Be sure to visit the stand to see the Kinect Effect in action for yourself!

    We look forward to welcoming you on the stand at BETT 2012!


  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    BETT 2012: Microsoft Licensing & EES


    Have some questions about our licensing and, in particular, EES? We can help!

    Visit our stand at BETT 2012 and let one of our licencing specialists walk you through the best options for you and your institution. Get answers to the following questions, and more:

    • Who can buy education licences?
    • The different types of educational licences available
    • Types of licences available for schools, colleges and universities
    • Best licences for staff and students

    Find us on stand D30 & D40. In addition to finding out the answers to your licensing related queries, we have a packed schedule of presentations that address everything from gaming in education to School in a Box. We hope you can join us!

    In the meantime, the deck below walks you through a top level overview of the different types of education licensing that is currently available.

    Microsoft Licensing & EES
    View more presentations from Microsoft Education UK
  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    BETT 2012: Not long now!


    With  BETT 2012 now less than 24 hours away, we are busy putting the finishing touches to our shiny new stand. Lets just say its work in progress…


    If you are attending BETT 2012 and are planning your visit, some of our blog posts, that include references to a lot of the presentations, products and services we are showcasing on the stand, might be useful. A full list of posts are shown below:

    A full overview of our theatre presentation schedule can be found on our Microsoft at BETT 2012 microsite. We hope to see you on our stand (D30/D40)!

  • Microsoft UK Schools blog

    BETT 2012: Microsoft @ BETT Pictures


    A selection of pictures documenting our presence at BETT 2012 have now been added to the Microsoft @ BETT 2012 Flickr Group.

    If you took any pictures of our stand at BETT, it would be great if you could add them to the group. Its a public group and Flickr makes it really simple for you to add your pictures with only a couple of clicks. Look forward to seeing your shots!

    Some of my favourite pictures from the show are definitely when Prince Andrew, Duke of York, visited our stand and the cool Photosynth that Lee Stott from the DPE team put together!


    Thanks again to all those who visited our stand at BETT 2012. If you have any ideas about how we can make our involvement at the 2013 event even more relevant and valuable, leave me your thoughts in comments below.


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