GSuite @ The BLA

Google Reference School Status

The Bicester Learning Academy first implemented G Suite for Education in 2012, starting at The Cooper School and later, as we moved to Academy, to Glory Farm Primary School. The growth and use of GSuite has grown and grown and a few years later, we were honoured and excited to receive an invitation from the Google for Education team to apply to become a Google Reference School, as they had seen the amazing things we are doing with G Suite for Education and Chromebooks. They were impressed by the usage of the tools available and our interpretation of their use to enhance teaching and learning at The Cooper School and at Glory Farm Primary School. We were asked to provide a ‘Story of Impact’, reflecting upon our journey in becoming a Google Reference School. A Story of Impact serves to illustrate how the tools were making a difference in teaching and learning, student engagement, both at classroom and school level. We provided this, giving examples and explaining both the trials and tribulations, the positives and negatives that we came across, to give an overview of the school before we implemented GSuite for Education and after, as we now use the platform across our whole academy. Our Story of Impact can be viewed below.


Our story displays our exemplary use of the technology and fostering innovative learning environments in the classroom and beyond, and we are thrilled to now report that we are now a Google Reference School! This means we are a member of a very select group of schools and colleges in England and across the world. Being part of the Google Reference Schools program means that our use of G Suite throughout the schools and our good practice in utilising its tools can be referenced and displayed to offer support to other schools and educational establishments. We are able to provide training opportunities for colleagues and will continue to work closely with Google in supporting the use, development and deployment of future technologies for use in schools. Amongst many exciting benefits to the school will be the opportunity to test new products before they hit the market; we will be offered the opportunity to view the Google for Education Product Roadmap and provide direct feedback to product teams as well as listed in the prestigious Google for Education reference schools directory.

We are extremely honoured to have received this new status and feel that it reflects the forward thinking nature of our individual schools and, furthermore, The Bicester Learning Academy. We are extremely proud of our staff and their enthusiasm and drive in adopting, implementing and utilising new technologies to enhance teaching and learning. At The Bicester Learning Academy we are collaborative, passionate and responsive in embracing new ideas and responsibly, integrating them with carefully with our teaching, learning and school community.

Mr Baxter with Jenny Tolan, Product Marketing Manager for Education at Google based in the US visiting London and Jeminatu Alabi-Isama, Education Regional Manager, UK



Why we use Google Apps for Education across the Bicester Learning Academy


Inspire collaboration
Students can work together in real time in Google Docs (and Sheets, Slides and Sites) to complete that group project – in class and at home

Manage with ease
Administrators at The BLA can set user permissions, security settings and allow/deny settings for any account on our domain

Keep data secure 
The BLA Google Apps for Education Administrators can configure many critical security settings & features which will benefit our students.

Stay connected anywhere
Students, staff and The BLA community can work together anytime, from any device.  With offline apps, they can keep working even without the internet

It is free
Every member of The BLAis able to have a Google account that belongs to our domain. This allows them to use everything that Google has to offer, all under one umbrella. Students who do not have the Microsoft Office package can use the wordprocessing and document editing tools that are provided free of charge with Google Apps for Education.

The Bicester Learning Academy has been awarded Google Reference School Status. To read the press release and more about the award and what this means for our school and our learners, please click here.

What’s included in Google Apps?

  • Gmail provides email storage with extra security including the option for restricted incoming and outgoing email.
  • Google Calendar enables us to create and share school or class calendars with events.
  • Google Drive lets pupils create and share documents, spreadsheets, presentations, drawings and forms. This also allows students/Pupils to work collaboratively on projects simultaneously in real time. Students/Pupils will be able to work on the same document from their own homes.
  • Google Sites makes it easy to collect, share, and publish all types of content in a single website. Students/Pupils will also be using sites to create portfolios of work.
  • Other applications such as Google Classroom, Google Video, Blogger and much more are available via the Google Apps for Education suite.

What are the benefits of Google Apps?

  • Ease of access: Students/Pupils can access Google Apps at anytime, anywhere. It is designed to work in any browser (e.g. Google Chrome, IE, Firefox etc.) and on any computer or tablet. This enables access to your email, calendars and documents (Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Publisher alternatives) from school or at home.
  • Online storage means that no flash drives (memory sticks etc.) are required with documents and files stored in Google Docs.
  • Collaboration between Students/Pupils from other classes, schools*, even different countries*, working together on group projects. (*carefully selected and teacher lead). During collaborative work teachers can monitor progress of each child and provide instant written feedback visible to the group or to the individual. This enhances teaching and learning and provides instant and accurate assessment.
  • Online portfolios of work can be developed by students.

Within the Bicester Learning Academy Google Apps service:

  • There will be no advertisements.
  • Inappropriate use of any Google Apps for Education account on our domain will result in suspension of the account and referral to a member of the Senior Leadership Team
  • All email communication and comments within collaborative work are monitored. This information will be used in conjunction with the behaviour policy.
  • Work uploaded to Google Drive remains the property of the creator; it is not copied or kept by Google if it is removed by the creator.

User Access

Students/Pupils will be shown how to use Google Apps safely, in school as part of our e-safety procedures and expectations. Students/Pupils will be provided with unique usernames and passwords. Parents/Carers are encouraged to explore Google Apps with their children by logging in together and accessing their school work stored in Google Apps. Students/Pupils will follow school policies for appropriate use when using Google Apps. The service is an extension of the school’s own network. Students/Pupils know that the school has the right and ability to monitor user accounts for policy and e-safety purposes as well as having the ability to remove access to some or all Google Apps.

Summary for Parents

Google Apps for Education is an essential part of the curriculum, for all subjects, and Students/Pupils without parental permission will be unable to participate in any lessons across the curriculum using Google Apps.  The BLA encourages parents to login and explore Google Apps with their children. All email communication can be accessed by the school where necessary and the school’s Acceptable Use Policy enforced. School staff monitor the use of Google Apps when Students/Pupils are at school. Parents/Carers are responsible for monitoring their child’s use of applications when accessing Google Apps from home. Students/Pupils are responsible for their own behaviour at all times. The Please do not hesitate in asking for more information about the decision to use Google Apps for Education, how it will impact teaching, learning and communication and your child’s education. More information about each app can be found using the links above.

Please click here for Google Apps for Education terms of service

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