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Managing Software Licences in SEND

by | Oct 13, 2023

Remember those days of rummaging through a cluttered toolbox to find that elusive tool? Well, in the modern SEND realm, our toolbox is often digital, and those elusive tools? They’re our software licences. Before we dive deep into the matrix of licence management, let me pose a question: have you ever had a software tool expire mid-session? If you smirked or cringed, you’re in the right place! Let’s embark on this digital expedition together.


The Role of Software Tools in SEND


In the evolving landscape of SEND, technology plays a pivotal role:


  1. Individualised Learning: Software tools often allow for tailored interventions, catering to the unique needs of each student.
  2. Enhanced Engagement: Interactive platforms can make learning more captivating for SEND students.
  3. Data Management and Analysis: From tracking progress to setting objectives, software tools offer robust data handling capabilities.
  4. Collaboration: Tools can foster better communication amongst educators, parents, and specialists.


Navigating the Maze of Software Licence Management


  1. Keeping Track of Expiry Dates


One of the main challenges is ensuring that licences don’t expire unexpectedly.


– Centralised Database: Create a database where all software licences, their duration, and expiry dates are logged. Tools like Microsoft Excel or specific IT asset management platforms can be invaluable.


– Automated Reminders: Set reminders 30 days before a licence’s expiry. This provides ample time to renew, preventing any disruptions.


  1. Monitoring Usage


Just having a licence isn’t enough; ensuring its optimal usage is key.


– Regular Reviews: Periodically review which software tools are frequently used and which aren’t. This can inform future purchasing decisions.


– Feedback Mechanism: Encourage staff to provide feedback on software tools, gauging their efficacy and usability.


  1. Budgetary Considerations


Software licences, especially for specialised SEND tools, can be pricey.


– Cost-Benefit Analysis: Regularly evaluate if the benefits derived from a software tool justify its cost. If a licence isn’t delivering value, consider alternative options.  Also check the equipment on which any software solution is installed – a Windows 95 machine is not likely to draw the best benefits from solutions (that’s if you can get it to work!)


– Seek Group or Bulk Licences: If multiple staff or students are using the same tool, check if the provider offers group or bulk licensing discounts.  Longer length licences (multi-year) can often work out cheaper.


– Stay Updated: Some software tools might offer promotional rates, educational discounts, or grants. Regularly liaise with sales representatives or visit official websites to stay informed.


– Seats not names: Some software licences allow you to buy seats rather than a licence for a named individual.  This is useful if you have a transient population, students where you are not sure if the product will work, or only need to use temporarily with absent students accessing education off site.


Advantages of Effective Licence Management


  1. Cost Efficiency: By regularly monitoring and managing licences, unnecessary expenditure on unused or redundant software can be curtailed.


  1. Consistent Service: Ensuring licences are renewed promptly prevents disruptions in service, ensuring smooth operations.


  1. Optimal Utilisation: With regular feedback and usage checks, the software tools can be used to their full potential, benefiting SEND students.


In conclusion, tech-savvy SENCOs, while our digital toolbox brims with potential, the magic truly lies in adeptly managing these assets. As we continue to harness the power of technology in SEND, let’s ensure our software licences – those vital tools in our kit – are meticulously managed and maximised. Until our next digital rendezvous, may your screens always be glitch-free and your software ever-optimised!


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