Mark ChambersMark Chambers: crucial to 'maintain a robust and forward thinking team'

Companies need deep pockets to work on Building Schools for the Future (BSF) projects, but it certainly provides some insulation against recession. Schools ICT supplier Ramesys, which claims 25 per cent of the BSF/academies market, will run a recruitment drive at the BETT 2009 show at Olympia, London, next week.

"It is crucial that we continue to maintain a robust and forward thinking team to help us reach our goals," says Ramesys chief executive Mark Chambers (pictured).

The company's priority is programme and project managers but it is also interested in "educational professionals to champion the use of ICT and engage and train school staff at all levels". Ramesys will have recruiters at the show on Thursday January 15.

Ramesys BETT stand H30

ED-E the robotED-E the RM robotBy Maureen McTaggart

He might not have the agility of the Citroën transformer robots of TV advertising fame, but steady ED-E, RM's new device for teaching robotics, can really dance (check out the video).

RM wants to step up its performance with innovation - watch out for announcements about a new "creative" brand - and ED-E is one of its new developments. He is a handsome enough fellow and, while the hips are not exactly snakelike, his break-dancing routines aren’t half bad. And if he gets fed up of helping children (7+) with the principles of physics, mathematics, biology and engineering - what he's designed to do - advertising beckons.

Digital creativity: when Apple supported BETT
Apple computers are going into UK schools as never before. City Learning Centres and schools have cottoned on to the fact that iMacs can be used for both Mac OSX programs as well as for Windows. The new Leigh Technology Academy in Kent, for example, has 700 of these "dual-boot" iMacs which have cut the furniture bill by £80,000 at a stroke as they don't have to be secured in cabinets like PC processor units.

So you would think that Apple would be at the heart of Bett 2009, the UK's, and probably the world's, biggest educational ICT event. Not so. Apple doesn't "support" conferences any more. It's a corporate decision that applies to all trade shows - Apple wasn't even officially present at Apple Expo Paris for example. The company feels there are better ways to communicate with its customers.

Experience in UK managed ICT services and Building Schools for the Future appears to have helped schools supplier RM to extend its business activities abroad. Computrac, a US company the RM Group acquired in November 2007, has just won a $32 million contract to supply interactive technology in 114 schools in Georgia’s Cobb County School District, the second largest school district in the state.

“It’s great news to be announcing Computrac’s first major win since they became part of the RM Group,” said RM chief executive Terry Sweeney. “Cobb County School District was already a significant customer and we’re delighted that they’ve chosen to continue working with us – it’s a clear endorsement of Computrac’s products and services.”

John Quinn and Jon CaseBeatbullying director John Quinn (left) and Birchfield's Jon Case
by Maureen McTaggart

School management systems can handle reports about bullying but until now there hasn’t been one specifically designed to audit students on bullying and related issues – and then initiate support and action. But software publisher Birchfield Interactive worked with the charity Beatbullying to mark National Anti-bullying Week by producing a new secure online service. "Assesswise to beat bullying" links secondary students with their teachers in a systematic attempt to tackle the problem, and the results will be on show at BETT 2009 in Olympia, London.