Personal Stories

This section is composed of stories and pictures contributed by individuals which describe their experiences of using educational technology. If you have such a story I am happy to publish them here, please send them in via this link.

The only request is that these contributions are factual and autobiographical. If you want to provide comment and analysis then there is another section here.

arrowright arrowleft

Peter Avis

As a teacher in the late 1970s I was captivated by the power and programmability of the early Commodore PET computer and the way the students were able to develop projects that controlled robots, railways and model houses. I became Regional Director for the Microelectronics Education Programme from 1981 - 1986 and developed our regional centre into a software publisher called RESOURCE from the close of MEP until 1990 when I joined NCET as their Director of Schools. When NCET was renamed as Becta in 1997 I continued and took on the Policy role until its closure in 2011.

Microcomputers and computer control at Anthony Gell School

Peter Avis AGS

Computer Control

Peter Avis, Karl Else, David

Talbot, Michael Hooton (front)

I was teaching Maths at Anthony Gell Comprehensive School in 1977 when I was lucky enough to get one of a small number of fellowships jointly organised by the Institute of Electrical Engineers and the Institute of Mechanical Engineers which enabled teachers to take a short sabbatical into industry. This allowed me to spend the Autumn Term working at Rolls Royce in Derby and spend some time at Trent Polytechnic on a development project.

When I was working at Rolls Royce I was completely taken with the beauty and power of their newly installed computer controlled machines which created the intricate shapes that make up the working parts of a jet engine. I realised that the automation of industry was little understood by the education system and as the design engineers at Rolls Royce said to me, they didn't need students who could just add up, they wanted those who could adapt to a new world of computers and robotics. It struck me that the school curriculum I was teaching was pretty irrelevent (logarithms, slide rules, etc) to this technological future.

Part of my secondment was spent at Trent Polytechnic with Geoffrey Harrison and Jeff Shillitoe who were pioneers in school technology and supported the secondees in curriculum development. My development project was about exploring how microcomputers could be used to control equipment to simulate the kinds of equipment I had seen at Rolls Royce. This coincided with a real public interest in microelectronics and the emergence of the first microcomputers. I bought a small single board computer just available from the US, the KIM II. This stimulated a lot of interest at school and we went on to use it to create a small run-around robot which could detect if it collided with something and move out of its way. This single board computer needed to be programmed in 6502 machine code and was a good, but complicated introduction to computers.

kim robot

Michael Hooton and the Kim Robot

However more powerful, more easily used computers were coming onto the market. In coming back to the classroom I was able to convince the school to purchase two of the first 8K Commodore PET microcomputers to come into the UK. These were superb machines, with their built in screen, with an easy to learn BASIC programming languange and most importantly a user port at the back to which you could attach your own electronic devices.

A number of the students, Michael Hooton, Catherine Howard, Karl Else, David Talbot and others reacted superbly to these machines and we started a computer club after school to develop computer controlled projects.

There was a wide range of these including computer controlled vehicles, model trains, an X-Y plotter, model cranes, houses etc. as shown in the following pictures. As well as simulating the kind of machines seen in industry and helping to explain how microelectronics controlled devices, it gave a real point to programming. Programming can be dull and pointless unless you can see the real outcome of your code. Controlling equipment gave immediate feedback.

Michael Hooton was a real genius at developing the electronic bits and pieces we needed, and I relied on him heavily to create the interface boxes and computer code required to make it all work. An example of the interface box he produced is shown in the picture below. He went on to agree with Cambion Electronics to manufacture them. This really was a case of the students knowing best. They had picked up electronics themselves, it wasn't on the school curriculum, but here they were doing experimental work in a real way.

This was a time when teachers had reasonable say in the curriculum and the exam boards offered Mode 3 CSEs, where you could create your own syllabus and have the exam board moderate and mark it. It seemed obvious to try and make the computer work available to all students. We ran a CSE Mode 3 exam with course work alongside O level Computing and got about twenty five students signed up to it in the first year. It grew from strength to strength after that.

hooton and parry

Computer Interface Box and Commodore PET

Michael Hooton and Sheila Parry (front)

The headteacher, Roy Pearce, was superb. He had always supported innovation and ran a good student-centred community school. He very much supported the idea of computers in the curriculum and gave us a redundant cookery clasroom which we set about converting to a computer and robotics lab.

I had kept in touch with Geoffrey Harrison and Jeff Shillitoe at Trent Polytechnic who had provided support for my IEE/IMechE fellowship and they suggested we bid for money from Department of Industry who were keen to support projects developing microelectronic skills. They came through with £25,000 over two years which allowed us to buy more computers and to hire a technician. (Well in fact two - Heather Neaum and Sheila Parry worked brilliantly together as a job share).

Hatfield College of Technology Elliot 803 in the 1960s

Michael Hooton, Catherine Howard

with computer controlled house

The grant also allowed me time off from teaching to write materials and support other teachers. Quickly other staff got involved. Barbara Boden and Dave Boston from the Maths Department, Steve Clamp from the special needs department, and others began to use the computers in their teaching.The school soon got a number of interested visitors including a party of HMIs and various local and national journalists who were impressed by the quality of work the students were doing. I rode on the back of this and was appointed as the only practicising teacher to the Microelectronics Education Programme Advisory Committee at the Department for Education and Science. This was quite an experience for me, almost surreal. The old DES was a long shabby building running alongside Waterloo Station, populated by quirky civil servants. It was my first understanding of the politics of committees and how policy and government initiatives creak slowly into action. I also saw at first hand the real tensions between the MEP Directorate Team (Richard Fothergill, John Anderson, Mike Bostock, Bob Coates) who wanted to get on and do things and the much more cautious civil servants (Nicholas Summers, Nick Stuart, Peter Fulford Jones) who were mindful of all the politics around LEAs, Universities, researchers, politicians etc.

vehicle

Simple robot under construction

It was an exhilerating time. The school entered the Young Engineer of Great Britain and Michael Hooton came third in the national event having won the regional one. We gave talks and open days. We even gave a demonstration on a train - a train hired by the DoI to go round the country explaining about microelectronics. Slightly surreal to be demonstrating a computer controlled model train on a real train!

All in all a great and innovative time. We were challenged, in the best possible way. HMI wanted me to be more explicit about the educational benefits. It made me realise that although you can see that students are enjoying and learning at the same time, you need to convince others. As an aside I want to record my appreciation of the various HMI who helped me to see things more clearly, Alan Marshall, Brian Harris, Joe Tierney, and many others - I also want to say what a huge loss to the spreading of good practice the thoughtless transformation of the HMI into Ofsted created - I am not sure what confluence of political and civil service envy created the change, but the loss of these usually intelligent, critical friends caused great harm to the spreading of expertise across the education system.

To explain what I was trying to do I wrote a number of articles and books on Practical Computer Studies (listed below). Essentially I was certain ( and still am) that whilst programming can be a boring and futile subject for school students to learn in the abstract, because it generally has pretty opaque rules and anyway it will all have changed by the time the students become adults, its concepts are critically important - particularly relating to control - feedback loops, input, output, the concept of a stored program, machine code versus programming language etc. seemed to me to be as essential knowledge for the future.

I was also challenged by Derbyshire LEA, again in the nicest possible way. I had joined their advisory teacher team - a group of about 20 practicising teachers who they had, in a visionary move, given one or two days a week off to carry out computer work and help spread good practice across the LEA. This was under the leadership of Steve Bacon, one of the first computer advisers ever appointed who thoughtfully helped Derbyshire become a real pioneering authority in this area. The challenge was of course - so how do you get the good work in one school to happen in other schools. This remained the real problem for the education system over my career. I think that many of the mechanisms we tried then really did work, advisory teachers especially, but change takes longer than anyone expects, and these good initiatives eventually fell foul to the power battle between local and national government.

So of course these experiences led me to the fate of any teacher doing well enough to attract attention, you get offered a job you can't refuse which takes you away from teaching. So I became Regional Director for the South Yorkshire and Humberside region of the Microelectronics Education Programme.

Microelectronics Education Programme

The Microelectronics Education Programme was the first government computer programme to have a defined implementation strategy aimed at reaching all schools. Its Director, Richard Fothergill and his deputy John Anderson set up a regional structure, imaginatively forcing LEAs to work together to get its grant money and to pool expertise and resources. I got the job as Regional Director for South Yorkshire and Humberside - containing the LEAs of Sheffield, Doncaster, Barnsley, Rotherham, and Humberside (and for odd reasons at the beginning the northern half of Derbyshire).

We set up a regional centre in Doncaster, originally at the Beechfield Teachers' Centre but then were moved out to Kingfisher Primary School. Andy Parry was the original information officer and Anne Swainstone the administrator, and we quickly added a number of other staff, both for teacher training and for our software publishing developments. I remember doing battle with petty administrators in Doncaster Council to try to buy a carpet for our teachers centre. I wanted to present a professional, positive experience for teachers on training courses but apparently this wasn't done. In the end I went and bought it anyway and nobody came to put me in Doncaster Gaol.

The region had a steering committee, first under the Chairmanship of Martin Shepherd and then Michael Garnett, which provided overall governance and for the LEAs to make joint decisions. Advisers such as Bob Hart, Ian Birnbaum, Steve Bacon provided expert help and direction on it. This worked pretty well and I was generally pleasantly surprised about how they got on and worked collectively together.

Teacher training was carried out by four INSET coordinators - Andrew Hopkins for Electronics and Control Technology (ECT), Keith Shaw (and then Roger Broadie) for Computer Based Learning (CBL), Peter Auchterloonie for Computer Education and Brian Grommet for (CAIS) Commuication and Information Systems. This mirrored the national picture where these four domains as they were called had national coordinators and each of the fourteen regions had their equivalent regional versions. Later Keith Hemsley joined as Primary Coordinator when the national programme focussed on primary schools.

RESOURCE

resource report

RESOURCE Report

Quite early on we had a number of teachers, LEAs and others offering us software they had developed. Some were really good and it became clear there was a need to publish these cheaply to schools. There were a few book publishers interested in computer software but these were linked to large projects such as Computers in the Curriculum. This was the time when a number of creative teachers began to program the early computers to create viable educational software and they needed publishing outlets and we began to create a programming and publishing arm. The national team at MEP were also interested in getting some of their ideas and projects coded and published and we employed two programmers Nigel Hunter and Ian Sowden together with Eileen Gillespie to run the publishing part.

Fortuitously we made use of Doncaster's YTS and CPA schemes to employ young programmers, designers, technicians to help set up this software publishing house (which we called RESOURCE and we went on to use many of them on more permanent projects. We published a number of great programs Dread Dragon Droom, Dust, Find, Albert's House, Forge, BBC Buggy Primer, Control BASIC, Picture Maker and many others.

Regionally we did quite well running courses, providing a newsletter, answering school's enquiries and particularly when we got a suite of the new BBC microcomputers for teachers to test and use. Nationally we also did well particularly when we started the annual RESOURCE Conference, first at Kingfisher School at Doncaster Racecourse. By this time I had been joined by Nick Evans and Graham McKintosh to help run the enterprise which consisted in 1986 of 30 or so people, later joined by John Evans and Trevor Millum.

regional directors

Regional Directors Meeting

MEP National

Being part of a national MEP programme was an exciting and sometimes confusing time. The national group of Directors was fascinating, a mixed bunch from academics such as Max Bramer (East Midlands) to pioneers such as Bill Tagg (Chiltern) to bright young leaders such as Mike Doran (Capital). It met as a group fairly regularly over the MEP programme's lifetime and we shared thoughts and concerns about our progress. The biggest topic of conversation was generally how each of us tried to get our collection of LEAs to cooperate together. Oddly at this time there was no real regional structure in education for the programme to work with, so MEP regions were made up almost on the basis of who wanted to work with whom and more importantly who didn't. Clive Neville was the CET manager tasked with creating the regions and he worked patiently to shepherd the LEAs into fourteen groups - his patience was helped by skillfully timing the inaugral meetings with performances of his favourite regional orchestra, ballet or theatre.

The MEP National team

mep central team

MEP Central Team

Mike Bostock, Richard Fothergill, Helen,

John Anderson, Bob Coates

The MEP central team was based at Newcastle Polytechnic in a converted semi-detached house called Cheviot House. It was a modest centre suiting Richard Fothergill's modest approach. In many ways he was an unlikely national Director but had great integrity and strength of purpose. Being in Newcastle wasn't ideal for dealing with the Department - or perhaps it was. Although the DES appointed a Director with a national team, they were very reluctant to give up control. The MEP Advisory committee was less an adviser to MEP than an adviser to the Department and controlling the purse strings meant that the MEP central team had to write endless proposals and papers to ask for their projects to be funded. Of course sitting around the table at the advisory committee were many of the people who thought the money should be going to them - so the decisions were often delayed. He said that being based in Newcastle made that point that microelectronics would enable communications across an education system - although this wasn't helped by the Diamond! Every regional information centre was equipped with a Diamond Word Processor which were meant to communicate with each other, enabling information to flow between us. unfortunately nobody got them working.

chris patten

Peter Avis, Chris Patten, Richard Fothergill, Phil Russell

Computer Domain Conference 1985?

I also enjoyed working with the national coordinators, Mike Aston for Computer Based Learning, Ann Irving for Communications and Information Systems, Graham Bevis for Electronics and Control Technology and Phil Russell the Computer Domain. They all had their different concerns and interest. Oddly Graham Bevis wasn't interested in computer based control technology - more focussed on electronics and electronic kits including the hugely impressive 'Microelectronics for All' kit. So I became quite involved with the Computer Domain working with Phil Russell, Hilary Pitts, Marge Mills, Laurie Desyck, and others and we organised a national conference for advisers and advisory teachers opened by Chris Patten who was then the junior Education Minister. RESOURCE demonstrated the Control Basic and the little robot vehicle we had developed, and we worked with Phil and his team to market these along with a wide range of resources suitable for Computer Studies.

Politicians

mrs thatcher

Mrs Thatcher in 1983

with Sheffield School's simulation

of BP's Magnus Oil Rig

Much as I disagreed with their politics I was impressed by the interest in educational technology shown by some of the Conservative politicians of the time. It wasn't just the Education Ministers like Chris Patten who got interested either, Kenneth Baker drove a lot of this agenda from the Department of Industry with the funding of the Micros in Schools Scheme. Oddly, looking at this time with hindsight from an era when the rhetoric of the Conservative Party which is anti-government intervention and anti-Quango this was a time when a Conservative Government funded an interventionist MEP, provided computers for schools, and its super-quango the MSC funded a large TVEI programme including In-Service Training for Teachers.

Margaret Thatcher was also a more than a usually engaged Prime Minister and gave a major speech at the launch of the MEP Microprimer Pack supporting educational technology. As the photo shows I also met her at the opening of the Magnus Oil Field in September 1983. We had a school-based project supported by BP in Sheffield where a Sinclair ZX81 was used to simulate an oil rig. Of all the politicians who filed past our little demostration she was the one who understood and engaged with the school students and their teacher - Stan Spencer (may have got name wrong).

Advisory Teachers

When MEP finished, partly because of the clashes between the central team and the DES described above, the five LEAs agreed to continue to fund RESOURCE as a centre and the Conference, which was quickly becoming a national event. MEP was succeeded by MESU -set up as an LEA support organisation, and it gained real function when the Government created the Educational Support Grant - part of this was focused on providing LEAs with monies to fund advisory teachers for computer work across the curriculum and helpfully offered incentives for LEAs rto work together as a region to share expertise. The five LEAs appointed a team of advisory teachers which I managed from RESOURCE. This was a great team who covered most aspects of the curriculum - more than could have been achieved even in the largest LEA. Heather Tomlinson covered English and Modern Languages, John Wardle - Science, Ginny Teasdale - Business Studies, Eileen Small - Design and Technology, Simon Womack - History and Geography, Julian Nunwich - Art, Paul Meakin - Special Needs, David Sanderson - Music. Schools across the five LEAs could call on their time to help them develop their work in each subject - which they did very successfully. MESU ran conferences for each subject and we ran regional conferences to provide networking and training for them. All in all an exciting and enjoyable time, with much innovation andreal change at the classroom level. Then they invented the National Curriculum!

NCET

margaret parkes

Margaret Parkes, Noel Thompson, Don Gratton

MESU and CET were merged by the Department, and the senior civil servant, Noel Thompson who did the merging was appointed its Chief Executive. Ralph Tabberer who was Deputy Director for Curriculum at MESU took on the School's Director role but couldn't work with Noel Thompson who was a difficult character, rather flamboyant, talked a lot, sometimes rude and was on a mission to decrease the influence of the School's part of NCET. Ralph soon left to take up an LEA post. his post was advertised and I applied and got the job following a fairly gruelling selection process.

I had a soft spot for Noel, he was a real advocate for lifelong learning but he created stupid battles with Phillip Lewis at the Department, even down to refusing to go to see him - he thought Phillip should come to him since he was on a more senior grade. This might have been good tactics in a gradist civil service but when the person you are snubbing is your funder there is only one conclusion. The Department got its revenge by appointing Lady Parkes as Chairman of NCET when Don Gratton retired. She had chaired the Technology Working Party of the National Curriculum and was a no-nonsense Chairman who quickly homed in on Noel's weakness. She worked with Philip Lewis to criticise Noel's Medium Term Plan for the organisation. Noel held the view that with technology it is not easy to predict ahead and refused to put too much into detail, but of course the Department wanted a watertight three year plan to agree funding. When they refused to fund it, Lady Parkes asked Noel to resign.

The Department and Lady Parkes had Peter Seabourne, a highly respected HMI. earmarked for the job of Chief Executive, but at the appointment, the Council took a contrary view and appointed Margaret Bell instead. Margaret Parkes resigned. Margaret Bell had previously worked for BT and had used educational technology for workplace training. She was a strong advocate of technology but also a good manager and leader. I liked her and she worked hard to push the cause of educational technology at a time when government wasn't particularly interested and she had a good grip on organisational development and control.

NCET was essentially an advisory organisation and a lot of our work was in developing materials and support. I feel quite proud of some of those early materials from the Schools Directorate and the work of some good educationalists, including Keith Helmsley for Primary, Sally Tweddle for English, Roger Blamire for Modern Languages and many others. NCET produced subject specific materials for all areas of the curriculum and more general packs such as Managing IT, Inspecting IT for headteachers. There was a strong Special Needs team, first led by Peter Fowler and then by Tina Detheridge. We also published some early research results, IT Works, the ILS Evaluations, etc.

The ILS evaluations were interesting because Integrated Learning Systems were big business in the USA . It was after a Study Trip to the USA (with Margaret Bell, Phillip Lewis, Gabriel Goldstein) and saw these in action that we decided to carry out an evaluation of these suites of networked computers that provided individual tuition on Maths and English to students. There was significant political interest because ILS's were being hailed as the solution to literacy and numeracy problems and it was difficult to hold the line to an independent evaluation, but I am glad we did. Our synopter David Woods at the end summed it up by saying that ILS's improved some aspects of literacy and numeracy, but not the all round skills that students needed to improve their test results. This seemed fair, it was obvious that students were learning some things, just not the complete skills to do well at the SAT tests. Whilst a number of schools invested in ILS, neither the government nor the bulk of the education system got carried away with them. In some ways this slightly negative result gives me more pleasure than some of the positive evaluations we did, it saved a clamour for huge investment in ILS's which would have skewed computer applications in the UK for years to come, and with the internet just around the corner this would have been a pity.

I enjoyed all of this work, the politics with the Department and finding ways of working with Phillip Lewis and the HMI Gabriel Goldstein. I also enjoyed working with NCET's Senior Management Team, Margaret, Jean Beck, Fred Daly, Michael Furminger and later Jeff Morgan and John Brown. Although not perfect, for the relatively small sum invested (about £3M per annum) it did good work. Later it was denigrated a little for its lack of impact, but for that amount of money you are never going to get major impact on a system of 500,000 teachers and 10M students. One major impact NCET did have was through Fred Daly's expertise in working with the Department to turn end-of-year money into equipment schemes. The fact that all government works on annual budgets causes real problems and often leads to end-of-year surpluses, but no Department likes to give money back to the Treasury because it looks like you asked for too much in the first place. Working with Phillip Lewis and then later with Andrew Partridge, we were able to hoover up unspent money from across the Department and spend it on equipment for schools including CD-ROM readers, laptops for teachers and for heads, and also worked with them on the Superhighway's Initiative - early Internet initiatives.

The impending election of the Labour Government in 1997 was to be a watershed for the organisation. The Labour Party had set up an independent review under Dennis Stevenson and it was obvious thast they would make a big play on educational technology. A number of changes happened which undermined Margaret Bell as Chief Executive. The retirement of Phillip Lewis and his replacement by Robin Ritzema, a forceful character who wasn't impressed by Margaret Bell and when NCET's Chairman Jon Richards term came to its end he was replaced by Heather du Quesnay, Director of Education at Lambeth, who had a reputation for drastically restructuring senior management teams. This was a tricky time for us, leading to a Council Meeting where a vote was taken on whether to extend Margaret's contract: rumour has it that the decision went against Margaret when one of the Council members had his mind changed during one of the breaks with the threat of losing Department funding for his pet projects.

Margaret resigned and Owen Lynch, a primary head from Cumbria and NCET Council member took the acting Chief Executive's role. I had known Owen for some time and rated his school Orgill Junior School and its approach to technology highly. He was strong willed and ambitious for it and its students and became so for Becta. Some NCET staff found it difficult to be managed by a primary head but it was probably what the organisation needed and Owen put a lot of energy into repositioning the organisation with the new Labour administration. Dennis Stevenson came on a state visit and we passed his inspection. After the inevitable reorganisation I took on a Policy role, just avoiding the inevitable cull of senior management. A lot of good people left at that time and the organisation became smaller - but closer to government as we began to implement the National Grid for Learning.

Becta

NCET was also renamed. Originally the Department wanted us to be the British Educational Technology Agency but I pointed out to Owen that being described as beta wasn't going to be helpful, so we inserted Communications. These were interesting days, the new Labour Government had an impetus about it, with Michael Barber parachuting into the Department and setting up the Standards and Effectiveness Unit, and Robin Ritzema and Andrew Partridge pushing the technology agenda and finding support from Charles Clarke and Kim Howells as junior ministers. The National Grid for Learning (NGfL) was set up as a portal - essentially a web-site with links to useful resources and in typically government agency way we set up a process to vet and accredit suppliers who could be linked to it, first from the public sector then commercial. Although this seems all a bit ponderous in the light of the free and open access of the internet now, there was a lot of concern about students having access to inappropriate materials. Of course the inevitable happened and one of the companies we had accredited went bust and a porn site bought their urls but they were quickly removed from the links! NGfL became much more than the website - there was NGfL funding specifically for schools to buy equipment or pay for NGfL managed services and to subscribe to NGfL regional broadband consortia. We benefited from some good and enthusiastic civil servants, Ralph Tabberer returned for a short period as the ICT lead then was followed by Doug Brown. Although there were the inevitable tensions Becta benefitted from having a strong Departmental presence, later when this was dismantled we gradually lost influence and importantly lost an inside voice to make the case that educational technology was important to policy.

My own role developed over the years, working with a small team which at different times included Roger Blamire, Alison Page, Nathan Dodd, Diane Levine, and other good people, we produced Becta's developing strategy and supported its Board. We had a strong Board and it was good to work with them to keep Becta on the straight and narrow. It seems odd to me that the present coalition government (2012) is so negative to the governance of what they call pejoritively quangos. All my experience showed me that having people like John Roberts ex-CEO of the Post Office, Steve Gill from HP, Lorna Cocking from Pearsons, Tim Pearson from RM, brought ideas and disciplines that the civil service couldn't. This isn't because civil servants don't know the theory of business practices, but in my experience the culture is one of the individual and individual success or failure, organisational change is not of particular interest to them.

The early Becta days were days of personal sadness and concern for me but I can't fault Owen Lynch in his support during this time although he began to show the wear and tear of a high profile job, falling out with a number of Directors he appointed, with the Chairman David Hargreaves and finally with the Department. He left and was replaced eventually by Stephen Crowne, a senior civil servant from the Department.

Despite the inevitable reorganisation and shuffling of chairs a new Chief Executive brings I enjoyed working with him and the senior management team, Tony Richardson, Niel McLean, Alan Cowie, Jane Williams, and Steve Lucey. Becta had grown into a large organisation, absorbing most of the resources, the policy work and the team from the Department. Working with Tony Richardson I took responsibility for developing the national 'Harnessing Technology' strategy started by Diana Llaurillard and really enjoyed the process of working with a wide range of people on this including Vanessa Pittard and Claire Gill. The process was as important as the product and running seminars that brought the ideas of 200+ experts together was exciting, as was seeing the end result.

Although we expected the change of government in 2010 to be a rocky ride for Becta we at least expected a chance to make our case for existence. We didn't get one and a few weeks into his new job Michael Gove decided to axe Becta. We went gracefully, the Board doing what it could for the staff, moving some people to other organisations, but inevitably many were made redundant. I took it as a sign that I should retire and have enjoyed my retirement ever since. My only regret is that, for political reasons, the integrity and professionalism of public service and public agencies has been unfairly tarnished. Whilst never perfect in any sense of the word, the organisations I have worked in; MEP, NCET, Becta deserve a better epitaph.

References

Avis P, et al. 1981, "Three Pet Projects", Computers in Schools 7-11, July 1981, Longman, London

Avis P and Else K. 1981, "Computer Controlled Railway", Computer Education 38: 5-6, June 1981, Computer Education Group

Avis P, "Practical Computer Studies I & II" Cassell, London

Resource. 1987, Annual Report 1986/87, Resource, Doncaster