The Welsh Government is to provide all the country’s local authority schools with free access to Microsoft 365.
It is to pay for all 1,521 maintained schools to use the latest version of Office 365 ProPlus in Welsh or English and programs including Word, Excel and PowerPoint in a £1.2 million investment.
The deal also includes the education edition of the block building game Minecraft, which contains features to support children in learning how to code such as Tynker and Microsoft MakeCode, and the Hwb digital learning platform.
Wales’ Minister for Education Kirsty Williams said: “I’m proud to say we’re one of the first countries in the world to take this progressive approach to providing schools with this software. Through our curriculum reforms we want all learners to have relevant high level digital, literacy and numeracy skills, and access to these applications is an important step towards achieving that.
“This will reduce the burden on schools to pay for their own licensing fees and also ensure all our schools have the same level of access to the digital tools they need to progress these skills in our learners. This is vital as we aim to reduce the attainment gap and increase standards in our schools.”
The move comes days after the Welsh Government announced that the social and personal learning program Flipgrid will also be available to the country’s school.
Both deals are aimed at supporting the Welsh Government’s Digital Competence Framework, which was launched in 2016 and is aimed at helping people develop digital skills.
Image from Microsoft