When it comes to creating products that really work for schools, it’s vital to understand what life in schools is really like.
That wasn’t an issue for Robbie Beattie and Marcus Fields, the creators of SchoolCloud, as the pair were only 15 when they formed the company and launched it “from the playground” of their school in Scotland.
An enterprising duo
In 2006, Beattie and Fields were S3 students at Mearns Castle High in East Renfrewshire and were tasked by their IT teacher with coming up with a piece of software for managing the school’s IT suites. The result, which they called Room Booking System, earned them £100.
Now, 15 years on, the project has evolved into a leading edtech company, which became part of the Tes family earlier this year, further widening the solutions Tes offers to schools (which now includes timetabling, pupil management, wellbeing surveys, recruitment, online training and more).
The enterprising duo worked to keep the business going while they attended university, and then a “momentous moment” came in 2014, Fields explains, when they sunk a third of everything they had into attending the 2014 Bett Show, where they won the ICT Company of the Year award for their category. Seven years on, at this year’s Bett Awards, SchoolCloud was named Innovator of the Year and Company of the Year (with less than £3m turnover).
Providing pandemic support
The company has continued to evolve, now offering an event booking system and a parents’ evening platform, the latter of which became invaluable to schools across the country during the Covid-19 closures.
When the government announced that schools would be closing, the pair decided to make their products available free of charge for the rest of the school year. By August 2020 over 20 million minutes of video calls had been clocked up through the virtual parents' evenings solution; by November that had grown to 200 million minutes.
And as we enter the new era of parents’ evenings - with the vast majority of schools planning online events or a mix with in-person - SchoolCloud looks set to lead the way.
If you’re not already using it and would like to run your next parents’ evening with SchoolCloud for free, get in touch to begin your free trial.
This blog has been created from the Tes News article ‘How a school project evolved into a top edtech company’ by Tes Scotland reporter Emma Seith