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Commercial publishers in the early eighties were slow in producing software and many innovative teachers did their own computer programming. A number used the rapidly expanding need for new software and hardware to create their own companies to publish and sell materials and some are listed below. These made (and continue to make) a significant contribution to the digital content industry in the UK and worldwide.

New Computers - BBC

Inpact of MEP

MicroPrimer pack

Factfile - Daniel Chandler, Edword


Innovative Teachers

Bob Hart, Tombs of Arkenstone

Ian Birnbaum, Find database


New Companies

Philip Neal - Bedfordshire LEA - SIMs (Schools Information Management System )- see Wikipedia here and TES article here. SIMS was born in 1982and 83, when Philip Neal, then a teacher at Lea Manor high school in Luton, wrote a program allowing teachers to produce computerised pupil reports. In 1988 a separate company called SIMS Ltd and in 1994 the business was re-sold to the Capita group, SIMS valued at £10m with a turnover of £13.5m.

Tina Detheridge - Mike Detheridge - Widget Software

Crick software -

Mike Matson - 4Mation - author of Granny's Garden - see interview here

Mike Matson

Granny's Garden by Mike Matson
4Mation Software

Bill Tagg - Advisory Unit

Ian Birnbaum, RESOURCE

Martin Littler - SEMERC

Cambridgeshire Software

Bill Bonham - Sherston - A teacher at Colton junior, a large primary school in Gloucester, Bill Bonham was deputy head when the first BBC computer arrived in the early Eighties. He became enthusiastic and started writing programs to use with his children. I met a friend who was a very high-level programmer in the pub in Sherston, and he said I should do something with my work. So we started up Sherston Software. The Sherston team is now about 40 strong, and Bill Bonham is chairman of the board - see Wikipedia article and TES article

TAG Learning - Tony Wheeler in 1988

Brynmor Jones

Grid Club created by Bob and Carole
Hart of Intuitive Media

Bob Hart, Carole Fletcher - Intuitive Media Bob and Carole both worked in the same primary school, The Pines in Hertfordshire. They developed the Tombs of Arkenstone - an early adventure game. Bob became computer adviser for Derbyshire and and from their they set up Intuitive Media which went on to create Grid Club and many other creative projects - see their 1999 TES interview.











  1. Armillas, I. (1972) 'Gaming – Simulation: An Approach to User Participation in Design' in Cross, N., Design Participation, Academy Editions, pp. 38–40.
    Auster, P. (1997) Hand to Mouth, London, Faber and Faber.
    Ellington, H., Addinall, E. and Percival, F. (1982) A Handbook of Game Design, Kogan Page, p. 28.