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News / Stone Computers announced as ICT partner in Home Access programme pilot


Stone Computers selected alongside Microsoft, Orange and intY to provide students with safe and secure access to virtual learning environments

Stone Group, a leading IT provider and the UK·s second largest original equipment manufacturer, has today announced that it has been selected as an ICT partner for the pilot trial of the recently announced Home Access programme. Home Access is a government programme designed to enable all families to have access to technology at home and provide learning equality for students through the provision of a powerful computer, education software, secure internet access and robust security, all optimised for a student·s education needs.

Under the terms of the pilot – which is being rolled out across Oldham and Suffolk - families with 7 to 18 year old learners can apply for a Home Access Grant to purchase a computer and internet access, redeemable through an approved reseller participating in the pilot trial. Long term, Stone plans to offer a "Pay as you go" tailored pricing strategy for families that do not qualify for the grant, but still want an education-friendly computing package.

The Home Access programme comprises all the components needed to facilitate a rich multimedia learning experience. The powerful and reliable Stone Computers acquired under the scheme feature solutions from Microsoft developed specifically to facilitate ·Anytime, Anywhere·, virtual learning. Secure internet connectivity is provided by Orange, while robust security software is supplied by intY, to ensure the safety of students online.

Commenting on Stone Computers· selection as an ICT partner for the trial, James Bird, CEO and founder of Stone Group, said: "Teaching and learning are changing fundamentally, and so too are the tools that facilitate the learning process. Although learning from home while using a PC and the internet is becoming increasingly common, for some families, the purchase price of a PC and internet connectivity is prohibitive. The Home Access programme prevents an escalating social and digital divide between families that can provide a PC and internet access, and those that can·t." He added: "Stone·s position as a leading IT supplier to the education sector combined with its reputation for excellent customer service and support, made it an obvious candidate to participant in the pilot trial."

Stone was selected as an ICT partner following a strict tender process that thoroughly assessed the company·s commercial capability, and its technical compliance statements. It had to demonstrate its technical capability and provide evidence of its track record in the education sector, with respect to service and support.

Stone Computers is already recognized by the education sector for product reliability. That, combined with its standard three year next-day on-site warranty, has helped the company win Becta Accreditation as a service supplier, making Stone Group one of only a handful of such computer manufacturers in the UK.

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