Schools must open for longer

5th January 2001 at 00:00
Northern Ireland's Classroom 2000 project has collapsed after the RMICL consortium bidding for the 10 year, pound;300 million deal broke off talks.

Last month, RM announced that it had been "unable to negotiate commercial terms" with the Northern Ireland education department for the project to provide computers and networks to all 1,227 schools in Northern Ireland.

RM spent 18 months and pound;5.4 million trying to secure the contract. Its consortium with ICL became the sole bidder in July 1999 after Capita pulled out of the race. Its chief executive Paul Pindar said then that Capita felt the potential rewards were not worth the risk.

Richard Girling, RM's chief executive, said he was "disappointed" by the failure to rech an agreement. The company gave strong hints when it released figures in late November that it would not win the contract.

Mr Girling said there was always going to be a risk in negotiating such a complex contract, partly because the education department "didn't know how to buy it and we didn't know how to sell it".

The failure will not be a huge financial blow and he expected RM to increase sales by 20 per cent as more government funding for IT in education continued to flow. It continues to account for about half of all technology spending by UK schools. RM will continue to supply a significant amount of technology to schools in Northern Ireland.

Such a big deal is unlikely to be attempted again.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today