Point of purchase

Yolanda Brooks

Yolanda Brooks advises school buyers

* Biker drove

At pound;415 per unit the BikeAway storage system costs more than the average bike, but it does offer a cycle parking option that is high on safety, takes up little space and offers protection from the elements. The bikes are stored vertically in the 68cm-wide lockers and 12 BikeAway lockers take up the same space as two standard car parking spaces. The lockers are already in use in some schools in Plymouth and Enfield, where the demand for cycle facilities has rocketed since they were installed. The lockers cost pound;415 each if they are ordered in units of 10, a price that includes delivery and installation.

Tel: 01752 202 116 www.bikeaway.comE-mail: info@bikeaway. com

* Es of access

Too many publishers frighten IT novices away with bulky computing books. Not so Dorling Kindersley. Their second batch of books from the Essential Computers series includes Creating Presentations and Getting Connected, which has information on buying equipment, choosing an internet provider and shortcuts to Word 2000. The highly-visual guides provide step-by-step instructions on both straightforward and complex tasks in a language that won't leave you with a heavily knotted brow. Each booklet costs pound;4.99 and is available from bookshops or direct from Dorling Kindersley. Tel: 0870 840 4400 www.dk.com.

* Critical video

Meningitis and septicaemia are the commonest infectious causes of death amongst children and young people. But if symptons are spotted early and treated promptly most children go on to make a full recovery. The Meningitis Trust has launched a video to raise awareness of common symptons and provide advice on what to do in an emergency. Called Fighting Meningitis, the video costs pound;10 to schools within the UK. Tel: 01453 768 000

www.meningitis-trust.org.ukE-mail: support@meningitis-trust. org.uk.

* Care and share

School Database hopes it will encourage schools and parents to work together to make journeys to and from school more time and energy efficient. With the support of the DFEE and the DoT, Intrinsica Networks has developed a database that will enable schools to match parents willing to share car rides or escort children on foot or by public transport to and from school. The Green 2 School database, which has been piloted in schools for several months, will help to formalise ad hoc arrangements and will encourage more parents to participate in improving the journey to school. Green 2 School costs between pound;250 and pound;500, depending on the size of the school. Tel: 01438 748 212E-mail: green2school@intrinsica.co.uk.

* All fagged out

With smoking on the increase amongst young people, the Cig-Arrete smoke alarm could help you cut down the time spent on smoke patrol. The Cig-Arrete system from Airstream Products encompasses five smoke-activated remote detectors and a central control box that sounds an alarm when the sensors are activated. Flashing lights on the display reveal the scene of the crime. Equipment rental starts at pound;2.95 per week. Tel: 0800 838158 Fax: 0161 866 6207

* Green power

For most schools, going green means litter awareness and a bit of paper and bottle recycling. But anyone wanting to give environmental issues a highe profile within the curriculum can now generate their own sustainable power using one of the Green PowerEd Systems from Marlec. The Junior and Senior kits have been developed for the education market and both have a Rutland Windcharger, a photovoltaic panel that converts solar energy into electricity and a monitor to display performance. As well as gaining practical experience of renewable energy sources, students can use the power created to run a range of equipment including lights and pumps. With the use of inverters they can even power computers and other mains appliances with low energy requirements. The Junior system costs pound;795.95 and the Senior system costs pound;1,149.95. Tel: 01536 201588www.marlec.co.uk. E-mail: sales@ marlec.co.uk.

* Mock tech

If you prefer dummy runs before trying out the real thing, the Teaching You Microsoft Office series from Focus Multimedia may be more your style. The seven-set series allows you to practise tasks in a simulated environment with more than 200 individual lessons. Teaching You covers everything from Excel and Word 2000 to general IT skills. Outlook 2000 and Access 2000 are the latest titles in the series and cost pound;9.99 each. Tel: 01889 570 156www.focusmm.co.uk.e-mail: general@focusmm.co.uk * Wheel handy

Available in the UK for the first time, the Rehab Potters Wheel makes clay work more accessible. The mobile unit can be adjusted from a wheelchair and users operate a crank to adjust the height of the throwing bend, as the round bit is called. Once users have found the right height, they can slide their chair under the wheel. The speed can be controlled by a pedal at foot or hand height, depending on your needs. Table-top arm rests have also been built into the unit. The wheel can be moved from room to room and is easily locked into position. the wheel costs pound;1,600 and is available from Specialist Crafts. Tel: 0116 251 0405. www.speccrafts. co.ukEmail: post@speccrafts. co.uk.

* Outer action

Encourage mental and physical activity in the playground with Magnetic Wall Games from Sovereign. Easy to put up, they offer pupils access to alternative activities and brighten up the playground. The full set of games includes chess, draughts, snakes and ladders, four in a row and noughts and crosses. Measuring 90cm x 90cm, the all-weather galvanised steel frames come with magnetic accessories. Available from Sovereign Play Equipment, prices start at pound;191.40 for snakes and ladders, rising to pound;400 for four in a row. There is also an additional delivery charge of pound;20. Tel: 01702 391 880 Fax: 01702 391881 * Set for the Net

Passport2Learn is the latest internet package created with schools in mind. Developed by Navaho Technologies, Cobalt Networks and Argo Internet Services, Passport2Learn provides filtered internet access, a controllede-mail service and admin services such as Personal Information Management and SMS. Passport2Learn works in a multi-platform environment and can be administered from any computer in the school. The distributor Ideal Hardware reports that the system can be installed on Cobalt servers in approximately 20 minutes. Prices start from pound;1,999 for 100 users. Tel: 0870 703 4015. Website: www.passport 2learn. co.uk. E-mail: info@passport2learn.co.uk.

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Yolanda Brooks

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