Forget your password

Laura Burnett
After a huge year of change, some schools now consider themselves "Google schools" - while others prefer Microsoft. Whether you've spent the last 18 months on Google Meets, or Microsoft Teams, one thing is clear: most schools now sit in one of these two camps. Taking this new way of working into account, we saw an opportunity to solve a painful niggle for our members.

Moving online

A snapshot from HomeLearningUK showed that in March 2020, 24% of teachers were using Microsoft teams for remote learning, and 18% were using Google Classroom. When the government announced support to help schools get set up on an education platform, over a quarter of schools in England signed up to either Google or Microsoft. We like to think we helped: more than 2,000 schools viewed our guide on how to Get set up on your digital education platform, published in May last year.

When schools change, we change. And as more and more school operations have shifted online, from new blended learning strategies to virtual governor meetings and online CPD, we’ve been working hard to make sure The Key continues to support school leaders in exactly the way they need – in the big things and the small.

As of this term, our members can log in to The Key using their Google or Microsoft account, which means access our services in just a couple of clicks. That’s one less password to remember, or one less “forgotten password?” email needed, in order to get to that critical guidance. 

How does it work?

When members of The Key log in to one of our sites, they can now click on a Google or Microsoft icon instead of entering a password. The Key sends them to Google or Microsoft, to sign in. Google or Microsoft sends a token back to us that essentially says “Yep, this person is who they say they are. Proceed.” If the Google or Microsoft email address matches the one used on The Key, members are automatically then logged in to our sites.

This builds on some work we completed a few months ago which allows our members with GovernorHub accounts to “log in with GovernorHub” to access The Key. By choosing to adhere to open industry standards (“best practice on the internet” is how I like to think of it), we were able to easily re-use this piece of work and expand it to work for Google and Microsoft accounts as well.

Remember, remember your password in September..

..Except, with something like passwords, we don’t want to help our members remember – we think they have plenty of more important things to be thinking about. In fact, we want to help them never need to remember their passwords again. By using a Google or Microsoft log in, there’s one less password to remember (or reset): you can access The Key with the same password you use to access your emails. We’re all familiar with the time drain from “reset password” journeys: in fact, 5,000 of our members forget their password to The Key each month and need to reset it. After the summer break last year, we helped reset almost 12,000 passwords in September alone – think of the time that could now be saved by using one simple log-in!  

As this summer approaches, we’re looking forward to being able to give leaders one more thing they can ‘leave on their desks’ – and break for the summer knowing they can access The Key in just a few clicks, and hit the ground running when they get back.

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