Scholastic at BETT 2012

Anthony Browne on the Scholastic stand in 2011

Anthony Browne on the Scholastic stand in 2011

Here we go again, BETT is just around the corner and Scholastic have been getting ready (almost since BETT 2011 ended!) for a big show.

We have kept the bits that you said you loved from last year (More resource demonstrations based on the needs you have in your classroom; TeachMeet Takeover and Hutch, our caricature artist is back again!).

We have changed a couple of other things – we are taking a selection of our resources that you can buy on the stand (thank you to @dawnhallybone among others for this suggestion) – to make this extra special, we are offering 20% off at the show!

In full… we are hosting 60 sessions on stand G40 to help you in the classroom. From Using real time digital assessments in the classroom, to Using favourite children’s books to structure your literacy teaching

Here’s what you can do on our stand:

  • take part in a demonstration of resources that can help you in the classroom
  • a chance to win Olympics resources worth £50 every half-an-hour
  • take a look at our latest resources, and try them out for yourself
  • watch and take part in a KidsMeet or TeachMeet
  • save 20% on all orders placed at the show
  • charge up your mobile phones while you have your caricature drawn
  • and most importantly enter our Treasure Hunt for a chance to win an iPad!
Scholastic Treasure Map

Scholastic Treasure Map

If you want to get ahead of the game, download the treasure map now – you can fill in the answers on the Scholastic web site.

My social networking presentation to the IPG

On Wednesday I gave a presentation to the Independent Publishers Guild Annual Conference on social networking. I followed Jon Reed who gave a very comprehensive look at ways in which publishers can use Twitter / Facebook and LinkedIn. It was great to catch up with Kate Wilson from Nosy Crow as well, and talk about how well her lovely new iPad and iPhone apps were going!

I spoke about increasing awareness of a brand through Social Networking.  The story: two years ago, the awareness of Scholastic amongst ICT Local Authority Advisors was 0% (this isn’t just me making progress look good, we had research done to confirm our fears!)… with the launch of Class PET not far away, I needed to increase that percentage slightly!

The things we did:

  • Set up the Class PET Twitter account (which recently turned into eScholasticUK), which is a good, although quite formal way of engaging on Twitter.
  • Sponsoring TeachMeets (which I hope we have done without being too commercial at all)
  • A larger, better BETT stand which has acted as a central place at BETT for people to meet – and by listening to teachers, ensuring we have things that teachers need on our stand!

All of the above, from an official perspective have helped to increase awareness of resources such, but not confined to ClassPET.

The other thing that has happened, which has almost happened by accident, has that by being myself on Twitter, and sticking to my mantra of ‘no selling’ I have found myself in a place where I have many good  and firm friends all over the country.  I have done things I never thought I would (running 10-miles with @ianaddison being one of them!).

The culmination of this was that I was able to conduct some research on Twitter (distributed by people other than me!) that showed that Scholastic was the best known publisher or provider of services to schools on Twitter (not as one Tweeter at the IPG conference heard, the best known brand on Twitter!).  There were some very lovely comments indeed, so to those who were so nice about me, thank you!  The presentation with the data is below, but if you want to see the original source data, check out this link.

Get Reddy for Fine events (with some Prue and Doherty!)

Anthony Browne at BETT

If you were on the Scholastic stand on the Saturday at BETT 2011, you’ll have seen the most amazing Anthony Browne stand up and talk Gorilla, the Shape Game and his inspirations for writing both. I was meant to be taking photos, and I struggled as I stood there wowed by it all. From the reaction of the people on the stand, you were wowed too!

After the wonderful reaction we had, we couldn’t stop there, so starting at the Education Show next Friday, we are beginning a series of five events with inspirational speakers and wonderful authors.   Here is the list of events, authors and what they’ll be talking about. We’re very excited, and I hope you will be too. Booking information is at the bottom of this post, so make sure you sign up soon as places are limited!!


18th April – Birmingham NEC (Scholastic Stand at the Education Show)

Anne Fine will be kicking off our roadshows at the Education Show. 1pm – don’t be late!


6th April – The Lowry, Manchester

1pm to 3pm Anthony Reddy will talk about APP, and ensuring you fit it into your teaching without adding extra work, ensuring teachers are inspired and pupils motivated. This will be followed by some information about Class PET, then a chance to talk to Anthony, and play on PET.

4pm -6pm Berlie Doherty (author of Street Child) will talk about  ‘Using Real Books in the Classroom’.  We will then talk about Read & Respond Engage and then you can get a book signed by Berlie and take a closer look at Engage.

You can book for just one session or choose to attend both.


4th May – Sheffield

The same format as above, but with the following people talking!

1pm to 3pm Russel Prue will be talking about the teaching & learning cycle and motivating your pupils!

4pm-6pm  Berlie Doherty is up again!


12th May – Glasgow, Grand Central Hotel

The same format as above, but with the following people talking!

1pm to 3pm Russel Prue will be talking about the teaching & learning cycle and motivating your pupils!

4pm-6pm  We are delighted that Mairi Hedderwick (author of Katie Morag) will be coming along to talk to you about using real books in the classroom


24th May – York

We are finishing off this series of Roadshows  with:

1pm to 3pm Russel Prue

4pm to 6pm Anne Fine will be talking about using real books in the classroom.


To secure your seat and book a place call Lea Horner on 01993 893253 or email her at We do have limited spaces, so do get in quickly!


PS. If you can’t make these, we are looking to do more in the future, so leave a comment as to where you want the Roadshow to visit!


Don't conform… or obfuscate

Some people define insanity as doing the same thing as you have always done and expecting a different result each time.  Well, for me, launching new products, someone could have looked at me and committed me.  I seem to fall into the same trap…well no more!

I shall explain – this isn’t an advert – just self-reflection and honesty.

By now, I hope you know  I work for Scholastic Education.  The type of resource we are traditionally known for is teacher resources (typically A4, with or without a CD-ROM inside).  However, in the last couple of years we have been publishing other types of resource: reciprocal reading, non-fiction guided reading, digital resources such as Story Stage, Class PET and Read & Respond Engage.  Normally, when you launch new products into new areas that you don’t normally publish, you look at the competition, see what they are doing and copy them.

For example, Class PET.  We launched what is a fantastic digital resource as a subscription product.  Something that is the norm for that type of resource, and therefore, why wouldn’t we do this? We hadn’t counted on two things. One was that the market was changing when we launched.  What worked as the norm isn’t necessarily going to work in the future, and secondly, most importantly, it goes against what we do as a business.  (The closest thing Scholastic have to a subscription product are our magazines at £20-£40 a year – not hundreds of pounds a year.)  Therefore, our customers weren’t expecting to see subscription type product from a company that they usually purchase and own the resource from*.  So, we did the thing that most companies steer as far away from as possible: we changed.  We now offer Class PET and Read & Respond Engage as a one-time only purchase, just the same as if you bought a book**.

The part of selling books to schools that has always been clouded in obfuscation is that of guided reading.  Probably not the thing to say as an Educational Publisher!  Look at any publisher of guided reading books, and it seems that 23.6p is added on every time they add a couple of pages.  Well, this time, you can call the men with the white coats off…we are going against the crowd here.  Next month, we are launching a Guided Reading series that are the same price, whether they are for Pink band A, or Orange.  Whether they have four or twelve pages.

No more confusion, no more working out how much something is going to cost. Simple, clear pricing.

The lesson I have learned? To trust my instincts.

*note – our customers are very likely exactly the same as those of companies who do offer subscription products, it is the expectation that is different.

**there is a nominal annual Access and Update fee, but this is for a guarantee that the resource that will work with any future curriculum that is published.

My BETT – day by day… Saturday

I woke up with a spring in my step on Saturday. My feet barely hurt, the walk to the show seemed to take no time at all, and everything was just right. Is it a coincidence I had been at a TeachMeet the night before? Was I floating? Possibly!

Saturday is a good day to be a visitor at BETT. There are many fewer visitors, and much more time for you to talk to people on and off stands. It was for this reason I was a bit nervous about the number of people who would be around to hear Anthony Browne talk on our stand; but I shouldn’t have worried. The stand was at least six deep, with people sitting on the floor to hear him talk. We had over 100 people for over an hour listening to the Children’s Laureate talking about books, reading Gorilla and answering questions. He then went on to sign (and draw gorilla’s on) copies of Gorilla. He was such a nice man to talk to, and someone I have been a fan of for such a long time – I was ever-so-slightly star struck!

Anthony Browne was on our stand to launch Read & Respond Engage. I have never hidden what I think about Read & Respond – I believe it is by far the best resource that Scholastic, and other publishers have produced for teaching literacy in the classroom. It ensures that the classic children’s book is at the heart of every lesson, and that most importantly children develop a real love of reading through it. I am particularly excited about Engage, as it really does what it says on the tin. You can show videos, photographs; assign work to pupils to do in school or at home etc. etc. I don’t usually talk about resources we publish on my blog, but this time, I had to make an exception! If anyone wants to try it out, please let me know – you know where I am!

We hosted two more TeachMeet takeovers on Saturday, and again was delighted to meet even more people from Twitter!  Another highlight was Ian Addison standing up at the end of a Class PET presentation talking about how they use Class PET in their school, and what the children think about it.  As soon as I have video, I will post it here!  Needless to say, Ian was an incredibly natural presenter, presenting in the live Class PET, showing real results… I was really happy with the presentation, so thank you Ian!

In summary…BETT this year was by far the best show I have attended in all the years that I have been running exhibitions.  It was really interesting that after all of the hype over hardware for many years, it was the show for content (apparently publishers are now ‘content providers’!).  It was nice to see the amount of interest we got for products we have worked so hard on – including Class PET and Read & Respond Engage.

It was worth all of the sleepless nights; the attention to detail really paid off and we just have to think about what to do next year!

My BETT – day by day… Friday

I woke up on Friday morning thinking that I had only just closed my eyes.  The long walk to the show seemed longer than usual and my feet posted a petition for divorce. Then I realised I was only half way through, and decided to buck my ideas up, and found some Music to Wake  A Stand Up To…

The show was so busy on Friday that it was 3pm before I looked at my watch.  Everything seemed to go seamlessly – no technical hitches, everyone there when you needed them – almost as if we had planned it!

We did have some special guests on the stand. David Mitchell (@deputymitchell) brought six of his pupils from Heathfield CPS in Bolton onto our stand to do some experiments to help launch Scholastic Primary Science – a really nice new science scheme full of practical science experiments, ebooks and science APP.  The pupils, and staff were thoroughly professional all the time they were on our stand; and some of the pupils managed to get their charicatures done by our resident artist, Hutch.

It was also great to see Tom Sale and James Maloney who had made the long trip down from Blackpool and many other teachers who made the time to come and see us on the stand.  TeachMeet Takeover took off on Friday, many more presentations held compared to last year, and again we hosted two events on our stand.  Presentations by Alessio Bernardelli & Dan Roberts followed by Ian Addison were tremendous.  If you haven’t been to a TeachMeet before, you should – find out more here.

Friday night was TeachMeet BETT – something I had been looking forward to for a long time.  The evening was very professionally run by the Two Ians (@ianaddison and @iusher).  I was slightly disappointed in two or three of the presentations, two of them were adverts for the companies that stood up, and one pretty much bordered it!  There is a show floor for exhibitors to talk to teachers, the TeachMeet was a time for teachers to talk to teachers, it appeared that not everyone understood that.

I loved Dughall’s snow-day presentation, and Bill Lord’s reflections on @giraffeclass (a must-follow!), but the rest were just as good and the event was a real testament to the passion that was in that room.

TeachEat was brilliant. I had avoided it last year as I didn’t think that people would want someone from a company there, but the pizza was just what I needed at the end of a long, but fantastic day.