As a local Birmingham MP and Minister for School Standards it gives me particular pleasure to welcome the Education Show to the NEC. This year it celebrates its 10th year and it is a remarkable success story.
More and more visitors each year find it an invaluable showcase that supports excellent classroom practice. Yet today's event is a very different one from the first in 1991.
When it started, the information and communications technology revolution had yet to hit the world of education. Today new technologies are helping to support teaching and learning. The wider world has opened up through the Internet, enabling pupils and teachers to make links with classrooms across the globe, CD-Roms bring a whole new dimension to key subject areas and the National Grid for Learning is a reality. Twenty-five years ago a computer occupied a whole room. Today some can sit on a person's hand.
That sea change is reflected in the Education Show, where the multimedia arena sits side by side with the more familiar products from the event's eary days, such as the range of educational publishers and educational products.
I know that many of our colleagues in educational publishing have been working hard to reflect the changes in the new national curriculum. They also gave fantastic support to the National Year of Reading in 1999 and helped to make it such a success story.
The National Literacy Strategy is proving its effectiveness, giving many more children opportunities to immerse themselves in the rich world of books.
This year we have moved on the maths and Maths Year 2000 is helping to rid children and adults alike of their fear of numbers.
The challenge to provide all our children with the basic skills of numeracy and literacy is a tough but rewarding one, opening up the world of learning to young people who deserve the same opportunities as their contemporaries.
The Education Show is a world of learning in its own right and under one roof. Welcome to the NEC and I wish you all a successful event.
Estelle Morris, School Standards Minister