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Softcat's Microsoft Education update from Aspire at Bett 2024!

Find out what Microsoft's latest updates are in the Education space

Technology adoption

school child on ipad
Charley Dunmore

Charley Dunmore

Microsoft Licensing Specialist

Softcat attended Bett 2024, the world's biggest education technology exhibition, from Wednesday 24 January to Friday 26 January, hosting our Aspire event at the Aloft Hotel.

The experience of Aspire

As you may have read from some of our our blogs leading up to Bett, the purpose of Aspire is to provide our customers access to Softcat staff (including account managers, specialists, and senior management), as well as some of our key education vendors. In addition to this, some of our specialist vendors, including Adobe, Tenable, Microsoft, SILC Group and Cisco, hosted sessions with education specific content.

Microsoft at Aspire

Our Microsoft Public Sector Specialist team attended to offer additional details and perspectives on the recent Microsoft education updates. Many customers found value in spending dedicated time with our Microsoft specialist to discuss their strategy, explore use cases, and address licensing concerns. The specialists at Softcat bring significant added value by providing updates, offering licensing advice, and sharing industry knowledge and practical use cases.

We also saw our Chief Strategist for Microsoft and Education, Alex Pearce, deliver a session covering Softcat’s Managed Sentinel service. If you'd like to find out more about how Softcat's Managed Sentinel Service can support public sector organisations, then check out this blog.

Microsoft education updates

Reading Coach

- Reading Coach builds on reading progress by identifying the five words each individual student struggled with the most. It presents the words to the student again, with tools to support them to practice independently.

- Reading Coach in Microsoft Teams provides learners with personalised reading practice, and instant feedback on pronounciation and fluency, while also giving insights back to faculty members.

- The announcement of Reading Coach as a standalone application provides personalised and independent reading fluency practice. It is available for free as a Windows application and a web app to use in the classroom or at home with a Microsoft account.

Key updates for Teams for Education, as shared by Microsoft

- Using generative AI to create rubrics/scoring guides in Assignments.

- Rubric generation AI - private preview.

- Assignment instructions generation using AI - private preview.

- Classwork module generation using AI - private preview.

- Teams Admin controls for generative AI features.

- Classwork Reuse globally available.

- Reflect in Assignments globally available.

Microsoft Loop

- Loop is a colllaboration application powered by AI providing tools to think, plan and create together.

- Loop will be included in Microsoft 365 A3 and A5 plans, including Student Use Benefit users in early March 2024.

- Office 365 A1 customers can create Loop workspaces and pages until June 30 2024. After this date, they will still have access to these exisiting workspaces and pages, however, will need M365 A3/A5 license to create new ones.

Copilot for Education

Microsoft Copilot with commercial data protection (formerly knoen as Bing Chat) will be available to all faculty and higher education students ages 18 and above.

- Microsoft Copilot is also now powered by GPT-4 Turbo and is available on both iOS and Android devoces.

- Copilot for Microsoft 365 eligibility will now include Microsoft and Office 365 A3 or A5 education faculty and staff with no seat minimum requirement. This can be purchased as an annual commitment product via NCE (CSP) or Campus Agreement.

Softcat and Microsoft

Softcat offers specialist support and services, in line with the Gold partner status awarded by Microsoft. Our level of partnership provides the below services as a result of being our customer:

  • Experience support in commericial negotiation
  • Licensing optimisation and consolidation reviews
  • Regular review of licensing position including programmatical comparisons
  • Managed renewals and anniversary processes
  • Ad-hoc licensing support
  • Microsoft Technology Review and licensing/feature updates
  • Strong relationship with Microsoft and Account Teams


At Softcat, we ensure that our customers are recieving tailored vertical updates and support within the industry. We have many specialists who can advise on education trends, products, and commericials. We tailor the Microsoft updates for customers to digest the information through webinars, Quaterly Tech Reviews (delivering key updates, changes, demonstrations by specialists), customer meetings and Quaterly Business Reviews with Specialist Managed Customers.


Should you have any questions or would like to speak with our Specialists, please contact the Account Manager aligned to your organisation, or get in touch through this form on the website: Contact Sales | Softcat.