back to article Jock and Awe: Scottish schools' sixty-mil 'slab splurge

Scottish ministers are seeking suppliers for up to £60m of tablets and notebooks. The supply contract for the desired technology is expected to run for 15 months with an option to extend it by one or two 12-month periods. Suppliers were this month invited by Scottish Procurement to bid for two lots: the first lot involves …


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  1. Danny 14 Silver badge

    It will be interesting to see what they plan to do with them. I was tasked by the NE educational authority to look at this some 4 years ago. My conclusion was basically they saw headlines and wanted to jump on the bandwagon as there was no plan on what they were for, where they wanted to head with them and no support on tracking effectiveness. After budget cuts they ironically ended up with laptops instead.

  2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

    Just one question:

    WTF is the 'third sector'?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just one question:

      "WTF is the 'third sector'?"

      Anything that doesn't fit the public or private sector title. So charities, not-for-profit companies, voluntary organisations, quangos, state owned enterprises, and anything else that the user of the term wants it to.

      It's one of those terms like "cloud", in that there is no proper definition, but it is bandied readily around by people who rather like the lack of tangibility.

  3. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Is this...

    the Scottish Gov playing lip service to Open Tendering before they take the inevital purchase of 'Surfaces' all round just to keep the MS lock in complete or will they really plump for an alternative OS?

    My money is that the MS contract is already signed and sealed and this is them 'gong through the motions' before it gets delivered.

  4. Silverburn

    60 mill?

    How about some building renevations/modernisation on some of the delapidated schools instead, since England and Wales are doing it? Starting with the heating systems, which seem to flake out at the first sigh of a ...errrr...snow flake.

  5. G R Goslin

    sixty million

    Sixty million would buy an awful lot of paper exercise and text books, which would have a far longer life than the usual fondleslab. On the other hand, you couldn't say that the dog ate your tablet

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    That IS a lot of money, but it's only half what they were until recently going to spend on a small garden in Aberdeen City Centre.

    For a region known for being dour, tightfisted and stingy they do a bloody awful job of looking after their money...

    1. Silverburn

      Re: Well

      Wasn't aberdeen city council almost bankrupt a few years ago?

  7. Bob Terwilliger

    Robust enough?

    Does it Deep Fry??

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I was in a similar position to you. A consultant spearheading the development of a BSF school wanted to kit out every pupil and teacher with an iPad. At there time there were no reports or evidence they enhanced teaching and learning, or why they were favoured over a Netbook or laptop. There were no provisions in place for repairs, spares or other costly issues, but that didn't seem to of any matter to anyone, all they saw were "free" shiny iPads for everyone.

    And people wonder why the BSF scheme was scrapped.

  9. CraigW


    What's the bets, once the figures are totted-up, that the same kit could have been bought for full retail from Amazon or suchlike for less than 50% of the final tally?

  10. 0laf Silver badge

    Business case = shiny

    For whatever reason educationalists and politicians still think that technology solves every educational issue.

    A shite teacher with a classroom full of ipads will still be a shite teacher.

    A good teacher with some pencils and paper will achieve more.

    It's not a total fail, exposure to new technologies is a good thing but unfortunately the kids are being taught to be consumers not leaders.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Today's Lesson is...

      ...How to get past level 18 of Angry Birds.

    2. P. Lee Silver badge

      I suspect this is from higher-up rather than teachers. In my local school in Oz, IT is a forced part of the curriculum and teachers have to demonstrate that they are using it or they get into trouble - many of them hate the stuff.

      But yes, IT is rubbish for learning to think. If you want to teach computer science, go ahead, but most of what I see is making pretty films, brochures. A waste of resources and a distraction from learning.

  11. The Indomitable Gall

    Oh dearie me no....

    I can't say I'm enamoured of this idea at all. I'm Scottish myself, and a teacher -- although at present I'm teaching at a university overseas. As you might guess, that makes me a language teacher, and I really can't see the use case for this at all. I'm not a luddite -- far from it: I've just left a career in IT management, and in my spare time I'm developing language learning software, so theoretically I have an interest in "a tablet in every schoolbag". The problem is that I see the touchscreen interface influencing pedagogical decisions too much, leading to (most likely) the use of trashy Rosetta Stone "click the right picture" tasks, as well as the word juggling of the "fridge poetry" style tasks that are gaining traction in the online language sphere.

    What's missing is the keyboard, which is key to my whole workflow.

    People rail against keyboard-based language learning on the grounds that language is primarily aural. This is true, but then again that's why you've got a teacher in the classroom! IT in schools should be a supplement to instruction, and written language is a supplement to spoken language. The synergy is obvious: talk in class, write at home. And "writing" means "typing", which means "keyboards", which means "sod off, tablet!"

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No no no... Not fondleslabs,

    they need Linux based netbooks for every student, with a battery life to get them through a day....

    You can't do real work on a tablet unless there is a very good interface and an app designed for it.. people don't write fondle apps on a fondle device...

  13. Mr Young

    Ulterior motive?

    With all these shinies we're bound to get a Youtube video of a haggis running up a hill sometime soon!

  14. The Godfather

    Is it real?

    Figures banded around appear a trifle high; nonetheless, would there be such a beef if they had simply said they would spend this amount on upgrading what they had?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So £60 million to be spent in a country of 5 million people (ish), so about £12 per head for a project with no direction.

    I have 2 kids on Scottish schools and I'm delighted with the education they get. Will this make it better? I doubt it. I don't want to pay £12 towards this scheme and would certainly not ask anyone else to either. When can we vote on matters like this???

    1. TriathlonMan

      Don't let the facts spoil a good headline...

      AFAIK, there is no project to kit out Scottish school kids with £60M of iPads.

      There is a framework contract being set up which will allow organisations in Scotland to purchase tablets (of any kind) at a better discount than they could negotiate individually. The figures of £12 - £30M for each of the two lots has been provided to give potential bidders an idea of the scale of the contract.

      As someone in IT in the Scottish public sector I'm welcoming this: we've working on a project to allow staff to access and enter information in places where a laptop is not suitable. This will allow us to get a better deal - saving taxpayers money. What's not to like?

      But don't let me stop you having a good rant - I'm enjoying reading your comments.

  16. Chris Parsons

    The sooner they get independence, the better I'll like it. I think we English and Welsh should be able to vote for Scottish independence as well.

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