Second time lucky for SCET?

6th June 1997 at 01:00
The long awaited software package intended to give Scottish schools a state-of-the-art management system has been launched by the Scottish Council for Educational Technology. SCETWorks 97 includes a 5-14 curriculum package and a module which will allow schools to administer and pass to the Scottish Qualifications Authority information needed for all examinations.

The new system is the result of collaboration with Key Solutions, which produces management information packages south of the border. The partnership followed problems the council encountered with an earlier version of SCETWorks and which led education authorities to look to other systems on the market, most notably Phoenix, produced by Scott Reed Associates.

Nigel Paine, SCET's chief executive, admitted to The TES Scotland that mistakes had been made, especially in producing a system that appeared to meet the requirements of the former regions but which was deemed inadequate by potential purchasers among the new councils. By last November it had become apparent that SCETWorks had to be adapted to run on Windows and Macintosh. "By hard work we succeeded in producing SCETWorks 97 in three months," Mr Paine said.

The council has recruited Peter Williams, former marketing director of Key Solutions in Leeds, to be director of management information solutions. Mr Williams will lead a team able to support and train teachers in using the new system.

Despite the upbeat message from public launches of SCETWorks 97 in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen, it is clear that SCET has much ground to make up. Several councils have already invested in the Phoenix system, others are trialling it. Embarrassingly, this week's launch in Edinburgh came the day before the capital's education committee voted for Phoenix "as the most suitable product to meet school needs most closely". At a cost of Pounds 51,000 a year, the system will be installed in schools between now and 1999.

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