Microsoft launches cut-price Windows 8 scheme for UK schools

Kids using tablets and smartphones

Microsoft and Intel have joined forces with IT provider RM Education to offer government-funded UK schools with cut-price Windows 8 tablets and PCs.

The scheme will allow UK schools to purchase Intel-powered devices made by RM, Asus and Acer for 30 per cent below their recommended retail price.

To be eligible for the scheme, schools must commit to purchasing the devices using government funding.

The UK initiative is part of Microsoft's worldwide Shape The Future scheme, which aims to close the digital divide by making technology accessible to all school children and their teachers.

The worldwide version of the scheme has already been credited with providing 21 million students in 56 countries with access to IT.

Tim Hatch, director of UK Education at chipmaker Intel, said Shape The Future UK will support the learning of youngsters both at school and in the home.

"Intel [is] very excited about this programme and we feel it will help bridge the accessibility of technology to all students, with a scheme that is all encompassing and fair," he said.

"We need our students from whatever their backgrounds to have that equal start in life and help them become the next generation of informed, flexible and collaborative employees."

Mike Allen, managing director of RM Education, added: "[The scheme] is a great opportunity to close the attainment gap and to level the playing field. I can't wait to start talking to schools about how they can take advantage of [it]."

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.