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“The lowest price per pupil under the previous systemwas around £4.50, so the current offering is anattractive package for...
This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THISSUMMARY.Docu...
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Warwickshire Schools (Warwickshire County Council) Office 365 Education Case Study


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Warwickshire Schools (Warwickshire County Council) Office 365 Education Case Study

  1. 1. “The lowest price per pupil under the previous systemwas around £4.50, so the current offering is anattractive package for schools, with loweradministrative costs for the council.”Harvey Woodall, e-Learning Adviser, ICT Development Service, Warwickshire CountyCouncilWarwickshire County Council wanted to offer its schools acloud-based learning environment to replace a physical platformthat was no longer cost effective. The council migrated itsWeLearn platform to SharePoint Online and Exchange Onlinethrough Office 365 Education. Instead of paying between £4.50(US$6.80) and £8 per student, the cloud service costs 185subscribing schools £1.50 per pupil, with extra services andlarger mailboxes for teachers.Business NeedsThe council, a tier-one local authority inthe United Kingdom, delivers services tomore than 200 schools in the county. From2004, this included a SharePoint learningenvironment—WeLearn—delivered by aMicrosoft Partner as part of a time-limitedPublic Finance Initiative (PFI). The platformalso integrated the county’s on-premisesMicrosoft Exchange service to provideemail for schools.With the PFI subsidy coming to an end, thenew partner-proposed pricing of between£4.50 and £8 per pupil was beyond whatmost schools would be able to pay. So thecouncil started talking to the principalvirtual learning environment suppliersabout a replacement service.It became clear to the council that most ofthe products on the market werecomplicated and had too many features.Harvey Woodall, e-Learning Adviser, ICTDevelopment Service, WarwickshireCounty Council, says: “By the end of 2011,we had focused our attention ondeveloping a solution around Google andwere working with a third party to pilotthis in a number of schools.”Microsoft Office 365Customer Solution Case StudyUK Council Offers 185 Schools CloudEnvironment for Just £1.50 Per StudentCustomer:Warwickshire County;www.welearn365.comCustomer Size:15,000Country or Region:United KingdomIndustry:Education—Primary andsecondary schoolsPartner:BFC NetworksCustomer ProfileWarwickshire County Council, based inWarwick, is a tier-one local authority,providing universal services to 546,000people, including around 200 schools.Software and ServicesMicrosoft Office 365− Microsoft Office 365 Education− Microsoft Exchange Online− Microsoft SharePoint OnlineWindows Azure− Windows Azure Active DirectoryFor more information about otherMicrosoft customer successes, please
  2. 2. This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THISSUMMARY.Document published May 2013Around this time, Microsoft approachedWarwickshire County Council with an offerof support. It recommended MicrosoftPartner BFC Networks—which providescustomisation for Microsoft Office 365Education—to look at an in-house solutionbased on Microsoft SharePoint 2010. Inearly 2012, developers produced proofs ofconcept for both the Google andSharePoint solutions and presented them toschools. Feedback from schools was positivefor both solutions. Woodall says: “Thepreference was for SharePoint, becauseschools had used it before through the PFI-financed system.”SolutionThe council decided to concentrate onSharePoint Online after Microsoft madeOffice 365 Education available to schoolsfree of charge. Schools would still beobliged to pay a per-pupil charge to thecouncil to cover development costs andthird-party integrations, but much less thancontinuing with the previous system.Alex Pearce, Managing Director, BFCNetworks, says: “Our solution was tocombine a local instance of SharePoint withthe Office 365 Education cloud service. Thelocal instance provided the facility tointegrate code, which would have beenimpossible in the cloud.”The council had previously offered a hostedschool email system based on MicrosoftOffice Outlook Web Access. The move toOffice 365 Education provided anopportunity to migrate this older systemacross to the cloud service using ExchangeOnline. BFC Networks could take advantageof the Warwickshire single Active Directoryidentity management server containing allschool users. Pearce says: “This provided thebasis of a federated solution with therequired Windows Azure Active Directory.Schools can plug-in online content andapplications from a variety of sources tobe used by teachers and students, both inthe classroom and at home.”In May 2012, presentations were againmade to schools. They demonstrated theOffice 365 Education SharePoint sites—subsequently branded WeLearn365—andthe new email system. Pearce says: “At thispoint, schools were asked to commit to aninitial two-year subscription to the service.Certain third-party products, includingPurple Mash and Autology, were added atno extra cost for the first two years.”The council has also developed the systemto use school management informationsystems (MIS) data to provision theWeLearn365 service. This is an automaticprocess that uses a group call agent toextract information from schools’ MIS,which is then populated into theWarwickshire single Active Directory.Pearce says: “By integrating some keyprivate cloud services for student data withMicrosoft public cloud services from Office365 Education, the schools have beengiven a compelling proposition.”BenefitsWarwickshire County Council is offering itsschools a learning environment andeducation service through Office 365Education at just £1.50 per pupil for thefirst two years. The interface—built withtemplates in SharePoint Online—helpschools quickly customise and personalisetheir own websites. Office 365 givesteachers 25-gigabyte mailboxes andWeLearn365 provides free access to third-party services, including Purple Mash andAutology.Schools pay just £1.50 per pupil forcloud-based system. The WeLearn365service has been adopted by 185Warwickshire schools and now has85,000 users. Woodall says: “The lowestprice per pupil under the previoussystem was around £4.50, so the currentoffering is an attractive package forschools, with lower administrative costsfor the council. There’s no need for aphysical infrastructure or the expenserelated to it.”Users find WeLearn365 easier to use.Warwickshire County Council and BFCNetworks have turned the SharePointservice in Office 365 into a user-friendlytool for any school. All teachers andstudents across Warwickshire, includingnon-subscribing schools, can access atop-level WeLearn365 site forcollaboration and sharing of essentialschools information and best practice ineducation. A head teacher comments:“We’ve enjoyed designing our schoolspace and making it interactive.”Free services boost value ofenvironment. The two-yearsubscription deal for schools givesteachers 25-gigabyte mailboxes andaccess to extra services, includingeducational resources such as PurpleMash and Autology. J2E is soon to beadded, along with integration of newOffice web applications. A head teachersays: “The children adore Purple Mash.They’ve used it both in school and athome, creating some excellent work.”Students value enhanced learningenvironment. Warwickshire CountyCouncil has been praised by students inprimary and secondary schools for thenew learning environment. One studentsays: “I think the new portal is evenbetter than the last. The links to thewebsites are quick and easy to use.”