To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the (a) overall cost to schools of delivering online learning and (b) specific cost of live online learning via Microsoft Teams; whether the cost of learning via Microsoft Teams has changed since the start of the 2020-21 academic year; and what assessment he has made of potential for centralised procurement to reduce those costs.
29 January 2021
The Department is investing over £400 million to support access to remote education and online social care, including securing 1.3 million laptops and tablets for disadvantaged children and young people. This includes over 870,000 laptops and tablets that were delivered to schools, trusts and local authorities by 25 January.
Schools have continued to receive their core funding throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, regardless of any periods of full or partial closure, with this year marking the first year of a three-year increase to core funding - the biggest in a decade. This will ensure they can continue to pay their staff and meet other regular financial commitments.
The Microsoft Teams A1 license is free to the education sector, so there are no costs that will have changed since the start of the 2020-21 academic year for use of that, and therefore no requirement for centralised procurement.