I looked around at a number of alternatives of providing student email. Exchange, live@edu teh microsoft branded site and google apps. I think it was that google was providing this and that most students are used to using google's environment took my liking.
But this is not why I am writing this. It has been three weeks since emailing our domain host provider for changes to be made to our domain. After three weeks of emailing them back and forth last night I check the DNS system to find that our requests have been made active. We can now provide the students with a simple web address and away they can go. Now I just need to go through and find the old csv file with hopefully a last name so I can go back and find the student ID number that is associated with it and import from there.
But we need to start getting this out at school, I am thinking of writing a php file to offer this to year 13 students through the intranet homepage through a banner ad, it is a simple way of getting a year group to work with it and find any problems. But we also need our network use agreement to go out to parents.