Azure for Students


Microsoft Azure for Students is back! This is a great opportunity for students to be able to play with the cloud resources Microsoft offer and for them to build and host their ideas for free.  What I will say now, these do not require a credit card so it’s perfect for students to just play with Azure.  There are 2 main offerings:

First there is an offer for 13+ year olds called the Microsoft Azure for Students Starter which allow you to build and code against dozens of app services.

The second is just called Azure for Students which is aimed for the university aged students (18+) and will give you $100 of credit which can be used for coursework and personal projects.

Previously these have been capped at the number of students who could sign up and I don’t know if this is the same again but get your students signed up now and allow them to start expressing the developer side!

Awarded Microsoft Office Apps and Services MVP


You can never complain when you get the email to say you have been awarded with Microsoft MVP but even after the 1st or 11th as it is now you still feel very lucky to get this high honour and I will never complain with the privileged that it is to be associated in such a way with a company like Microsoft.

As Microsofts culture is changing, the ability to work with their engineering teams and other offices in the UK allows a great opportunity for anyone to learn more and interactive with those who are developing product.


Education Sessions from Microsoft Inspire


The Microsoft Inspire conference is always a useful place to find where Microsfot are pushing their ideas, topics and goals with its Education Partner but the content can be relevent too those who aren’t Microsoft Partners.

Understanding where partners, solutions and education solutions from Microsoft will enable thought leaders, Directors of ICT and other education leaders to plan for the next 12 months and ensure they too have their goals for IT across their Schools/Academies,  Multi Academy Trusts or whole countries.

Below are a set of linked I’ve found from the Inspire agenda for you to listen in and what was presented on the screens.  If you are interested in finding out about certain services such as Azure, AI or Microsoft 365, there is also plenty of content.

Microsoft Cloud for Education – Bradley Tipp, Industry Solutions Manager, Microsoft

Back to School 2018 – Stephen Liffick, General Manager, Microsoft

Transformation in Digital Learning – Anthony Salcito, Vice President – Worldwide Education, Microsoft

Microsoft Education: What’s new and how to win – Eric Herzog, Education Field and Partner Marketing, Microsoft

FREE Webinar: Understanding Microsoft 365 Education


Not many people are talking about Microsoft 365 Education and its new license type.  All EES agreements are changing to this cloud first licensing model but there isn’t much material out there about it.


During this FREE webinar we will go through the licensing changes and what you get in the Microsoft 365 Education.

It was interesting in the recent survey I did on Office 365 Education and its usage that some people think that Office 365 and Microsoft 365 and the same so we’ll talk about this myth and put it to bed.

The session is at 3:30pm UK time on Monday 19th March.

Look forward to seeing you there.

Speaking at #BETT2018 on #GDPR


I’m delighted to have the opportunity to be speaking at BETT in one of the side sessions put on by the team at GDPR in Schools.

I was recently catching up with the team there and discussing what we have done at BFC Networks and with Provisio365 around data protection, handling personal information from school MISs and how we are going to manage existing customers where we have full access to their Office 365 Education environment.


It is important for both suppliers and customers to know what kind of data you have access to, how it is handled and what else might they have access to.

Other speakers includes Head of Data Strategy from the Department of Education, The Common Framework and also the team behind the GDPR in Schools Data.

If you are supplier and interested to see how other businesses have done it and how we have done it for both our customers, Office 365 Education and also our products to help customers to be more complaint, please come and join the session on Friday morning at BETT. 


2018 Office 365 Education Survey


I’ve been chatting with a few friends and customer recently about Office 365 Education and it is interesting to hear what different people have to say about the product, where they are and where to go to next with the cloud.  As a result of this I’ve put together a survey which I’m hoping you will fill out about how you are using Office 365 Education and where you are going next.

We aren’t asking for any personal data, just about the type of establishment you are, where in the world you are and then a bunch of questions about how you use and planning to use Microsoft cloud products.

The survey is open until the end of January with the results available during the first week of Feburary 2018.

All results of the survey will be shared online (I’ll create a fancy PowerBi report) and I’ll give a bit of a state of the nation review of it.

There are 25 multiple choice questions using Microsoft Forms and should only take a minute or two to complete it.

So in the interest of sharing – please do complete the survey and look forward to sharing the results with you at the end of the month and thanks for taking part.


Introducing Microsoft 365 Education


In the past month Microsoft announced changes to their licensing model for education. Also known as the EES license (Enrollment for Education Solutions), the changes come under the same name but have a completely different focus.  The changes will enable you to get more out of Office 365 and other products and services in the cloud.  If anything, you are getting more from your licensing and better security.

Cloud First Licensing

When Satya Nadella was appointed Microsoft CEO he set out a new vision for the organisation which has seen the business grow and change under his leadership.  “Mobile First, Cloud First “.  Even though Microsoft are now publically focusing on AI (artifical intelligence) this moto is true to any business and should help to focus change within business in delivering better services to their employees, customers, teachers and learners.

Office 365 has changed over recent years to include more education features such as Microsoft Teams Edu, OneNote Class Notebook and Learning Tools but there have been lots of other changes to the platform for security, Cloud Telephony, Minecraft for Education, the list continues but these have all been available to us but at an extra cost on top of our EES agreement.

The new EES agreement is a cloud first based licensing enabling you to get more out of some of those paid for solutions at a very similar price to what you are paying now.

With Office 365 Education licensing you don’t have to purchase anything from Microsoft (including EES) to get this free license which has now been renamed to Office 365 A1 and if you do purchase EES you can get the Office 365 A1 Plus added, adding the Office 365 Pro Plus client for your users to use.   As part of your EES (2015) license you would get your server licenses, productivity suite server licenses and also your client access licenses with that single benefit to the cloud (Office 365 A1 Plus).  With the new licensing model (EES 2017) and Microsoft 365 Education, things flip the other way so you get your licenses in the cloud first which then enable you to license products in your own environment.

Additional Solutions from the Cloud

You will now purchase Microsoft 365 Education licenses at either the A3 or A5 depending on the features you want for those users and get additional functionality for that level.  The best of these in my opinion is Minecraft for Education – all students and teachers will get this license, what a great addition to your licensing and Microsoft Cloud Platform.

Other features include (depending on if you buy A3 or A5)

  • Azure AD Premium
  • Intune Education
  • Office 365 Advanced Treat Prevention
  • PowerBI Pro
  • My Analytics
  • Enterprise Mobility Suite
  • Office 365 A3/A5
  • PSTNConferencing / Cloud Telephony

Note, you still get the ability to install client software on your machines, depending on the licensing provider (we’ll get to this in a future post).

Look out for the changes with your licensing provider and I look forward to sharing more about these features in the future.

Latest updates from Office 365 Education – September 2017



All the latest news from Microsoft Education and the Ignite Conference

What a week it has been for the education team and Office 365 with way to many announcements for us to get into in this post.

The Microsoft Education team announced Microsoft 365 Education along with some licensing changes from the 1st October, some of these are in your Office 365 platform already.  The Office 365 Education license now becomes the Office 365 A1 license and you will soon be able to change your license agreement to match Microsoft’s vision of Cloud-First, Mobile-First.

This week also saw Microsoft host the Ignite conference with a large number of announcements, changes and improvements to all their products including Office 365, Azure, SQL and the future release of the Office 2019 productivity stack.

Below I have put some links we feel should help you to understand the changes so you too can be ready to support your end users.


Microsoft 365 Education is the new licensing model for your next renewal.  Learn more about it from the Microsoft website….click here

Skype for Business will soon become Microsoft Teams.  Microsoft announced their road map to merge the two products into one with external access and telephony…click here


In the next few weeks we will start to see a new Office 365 App Launcher, also known as the “waffle”.  You will now you will see applications you use more often with an All Apps button for the rest. Read more about the changes on the Office Blog…click here

We’ve counted 18 announcements for OneDrive just in this link!  Take a read to know how you can get more out of the cloud storage feature…click here

New SharePoint Hub sites to pull news from all your SharePoint sites that you have in SharePoint Online including your Microsoft Teams and Office 365 Groups…click here

Awarded MVP – 10 Years #mvpbuzz


It’s the normal blog post for the 1st July, but this year, what makes it extra special is that it is the 10th award I have recieved.  Thanks to everyone who supports me in giving to the community and I hope we can work together to achieve more in the next 12 months.