This year's BETT 2006 educational technology show broke attendance records with 28,776 visitors, an increase of 6.5 per cent on 2005. And 10 per cent of them were from overseas, underlining BETT's international appeal with its 650 exhibitors, ranging from one-man bands through to major ICT companies, quangos and Government departments.
There was also increased demand for BETT's seminar streams which are ripe for development if the Government is serious about embedding ICT in classroom teaching. More than 7,000 people attended the seminars, an increase of 5 per cent.
In fact the Government presence was strong in the Policy in Practice area with stands representing the alphabet soup of the administration and its quangos: DfES, Becta, NCSL, QCA and the TDA.
Show organiser, EMAP Education, is confident that it has weathered the initial controversy caused by moving the Special Needs Village (Online January 6). Head of education events Briony Mansell-Lewis said: "Ensuring that the show works for both exhibitors and visitors is our main priority so we take any decisions extremely seriously. We have been delighted with the feedback we received during and after BETT which all points to the fact that the SEN stands were busier than ever and visitors could locate specialist suppliers and advice with ease. In future years the SEN exhibitors will have room to grow, encouraging the development of further tailored resources for this audience."
Her remarks were backed up by veteran ICT suppliers. Liberator's Andy Yardley commented: "We moved to the Fringe (in the nearby Olympia Hilton Hotel) but decided to move back to BETT this year because of the inclusion policy. We are very pleased that we moved. We are one of the few exhibitors that specialise in multiple and severe learning difficulties and therefore we have had a lot of interest. The location has helped people find us."
* More BETT feedback from George Cole in our Web Extras section at www.tes.co.ukonline
* BETT 2007 will be held at Olympia in London, January 10-13. More details at www.bettshow.com