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.

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.

Teachers can:

  • 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 by 30 November 2021:

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

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.