Crunch time for veteran education brands as bidding closes for Logotron assets
The fate of one of the UK's oldest and most respected special-needs ICT brands, Widget Software, could be decided this week. The closing deadline for bids for the assets of Logotron Ltd, which include the world renowned creator of the Widgit Symbols set for literacy and inclusion, passed at midday on Wednesday August 31.

Liquidator Begbies Traynor, the commpany handling the sale to maximise the value of the assets to distribute funds (minus costs) to Logotron creditors, says: “The most desirable outcome would be that all three divisions are sold to purchasers who will keep the businesses going, preserve the supply chain and save some jobs.”

The three "divisions" are Logotron, Widgit and Speedwell. Logotron, formerly part of the renowned Longman Logotron until a management buyout in 2001 closed down in July 2011 – all 48 members of staff were made redundant. Very little information about the closure was released apart from a press release from Begbies Traynor (see below).

For education Widgit is the best-known brand in the Logotron stable (Speedwell produced survey and examination software), and it has thousands of active customers worldwide. The Widgit symbols are used for literacy work in schools all over the world and are also employed by organisations like the Eden Project in Cornwall to make their facilities truly inclusive for all visitors. Widgit’s acclaimed Point tool enables their use on websites.

Widgit symbolsThis has been a fraught time for the Detheridge family, creators of Widgit. The business was started in 1981 by Mike and Tina Detheridge, and their son Simon (chief technical officer) and daughter Cate (designer of the symbols) have also played a full part in its development.

The bidders will not be known until all the bids have been opened, but one of them is understood to be a consortium that includes members of the Detheridge family.

Chris Abbott, reader in e-inclusion at King’s College, London, and an expert in special needs and ICT, commented: “As we await the news regarding future ownership of Widgit, we can only hope that the future is one of continuing development, and not selling products which will stay unchanged. The strength of Widgit’s products has always been in the company’s staff, always ready as they were to have dialogue with customers, respond to requests and speak at conferences and events. These innovative products deserve to be further developed, supported and improved by as many of the current talented team as is possible.”

More information

Press Release from Begbies Traynor
Begbies Traynor fighting to save educational software business
Liquidators at Begbies Traynor are fighting to save an educational software business that was forced to close its doors.
Mary Currie-Smith and John Kelly, partners at Begbies Traynor’s Cambridge and Birmingham offices were appointed liquidators to Logotron Ltd which traded as Widgit Software and Speedwell and had offices in Chittering, near Cambridge, and Cubbington, near Coventry, on August 3, 2011. The businesses had stopped trading on July 22 and all 48 staff were made redundant.
Mary Currie-Smith said that the company’s assets were for sale, with initial expressions of interest having already been received.
“Widgit specialises in producing educational software for autistic children in a language of some 2,000 symbols that autistic students find it easier to work in.
“Speedwell provides educational software for clients, including the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales,” she said.
“Widgit has an international presence and its products have a worldwide market so clearly there are opportunities there and we are actively seeking interest in both Widgit and Speedwell.”
Logotron Ltd traded from Denny Lodge Business Park, Ely Road, Chittering, Cambridgeshire, and 26 Queen Street, in Cubbington, Warwickshire.
For further information, please contact:
Mary Currie-Smith
Partner, Begbies Traynor, 3A Crome Lea Business Park, Madingley Road, Coton, Cambridge, CB23 7PH
Tel: 01954 213420