Digital education platforms
About the programme
Government-funded support is available for schools and colleges to get set up on one of two free-to-use digital education platforms. You can choose to use either:
- Google Workspace for Education Fundamentals (formerly G Suite for Education)
- Microsoft 365 Education (formerly Office 365 Education)
The Key for School Leaders website provides feature comparison and case studies on how schools are making the most of these platforms, to help you make the most appropriate choice for your school.
The programme has been extended for a further 12 months. This means you now have until the end of March 2022 to register and claim your grant.
What is a digital education platform?
It's a place where teachers, pupils and students can continue learning through online virtual classrooms.
The platforms are purpose-built for remote learning in a way that a school or college website is not.
- communicate with pupils and students and deliver lessons via video calls
- record virtual lessons
- set tasks
- let pupils and students work together through supervised group calls
- give personalised feedback via video or within shared documents
- continue with formal assessment for learning
- set up separate classrooms for smaller groups of students
- develop structured file and folder storage for different users
- use tools to support staff planning
Using a digital education platform allows teachers, pupils and students to continue education if a school or college closes.
The Key for School Leaders website has information on why you should make the move to a digital education platform, if you have not already.
Who can apply
The funded support is for schools and colleges that:
- do not have a digital education platform
- have access to Microsoft 365 Education or Google Workspace for Education Fundamentals, but are not yet set up to assign work and communicate with pupils and students
Support is available to state funded:
- primary schools
- secondary schools
- special schools
- pupil referral units
- further education colleges
- sixth-form colleges
Virtual schools and colleges are also eligible for the programme. This is especially true for virtual schools and colleges that:
- regularly coordinate and deliver elements of educational provision and curricular content
- engage with looked-after children
How to apply
You can choose to apply for support from either a Google or Microsoft partner.
To apply, complete the support request form for your chosen partner below:
Trusts and sponsors can apply on behalf of their schools and colleges.
What happens after you apply
A member from either Google or Microsoft will receive your request. They’ll confirm if you’re eligible for the programme and, if so, they’ll assign you to an IT supplier.
Your IT supplier will contact you within 2 days to agree a day and time to start the process of setting up the platform for your school or college.
It will take only a few days to install your platform if you respond quickly to the IT supplier’s requests to agree to the scope of work, and share user data and any other relevant information.
How to claim your grant funding
After you complete your support request form, you'll receive an email from the DfE Digital Infrastructure Payments team with details on how to claim your grant.
Once your platform is set up, you can claim the following grant funding:
|Setting||Grant funding available|
|Individual primary school||£1,500|
|Individual secondary school or college||£2,000|
|Multi-academy trust||£1,000 per school|
|Virtual schools and colleges||£1,500|
Will platforms continue to be free to use?
Once you have access to a platform, you and your pupils and students can use it for free.
How to get support
You can find more information about the programme and how schools and colleges are using digital platforms on The Key for School Leaders website.
Free training and support to set up and use technology effectively is available through the EdTech Demonstrator Programme.
If you have a question about this programme, contact us.