back to article Government says axing Becta will save £10m

The closure of Becta will save £10m over the next year, the government said yesterday. Former education minister and Labour MP Ed Balls tabled a parliamentary question in which he asked the Secretary of State for Education to estimate the cost and savings to the Exchequer expected from kyboshing the schools IT quango. "We …


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  1. Santa from Exeter
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    I can only applaud the scrapping of Becta, having seen the damage to schools that it was capable of causing.

    When I endeavoured to donate a couple of medium spec machines to my daughters school a few years ago to supplement the 1 pc that was available to the pupils (the other machines were still Acorns!) I was told that they weren't allowed to accept them due to the agreements they were forced into.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Someone lied to you

      As much as I disliked Becta and don't mind sticking the boot in there where they deserve it, there was no agreement forced on schools by *Becta* that would have stopped them accepting your kit. Either someone there simply didn't want it and told a white lie rather than tell you that, or they were hamstrung by a deal with someone else.

      1. Kamal Hashmi

        Re Someone lied to you...

        It was probably the Local Authority that forced the deal. Most (state) primary schools have little or no IT expertise and depend on help. This is also true for a lot of secondary schools even though they teach IT - the teachers are employed to teach not set up or maintain the system.

  2. John I'm only dancing
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    So hopefully...

    ...they won't be tied into the Windows environment, if schools can source their own IT hardware.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      We're not tied into it now even with Becta

      We just buy Windows and OS X because it's dirt cheap and it works.

      Oh sorry, you didn't think education paid the retail price for software from *anybody* did you?

  3. quicksilver

    Surely that can't be right ... ?

    That's a cut that actually makes sense.

    Something's wrong here. Somethings VERY wrong ...

  4. Anonymous Coward

    £65m saving from shutting down a bunch of people who write stuff!!!

    Just as well they have been shut down.

  5. fLaMePrOoF
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    Quite agree...

    Becta was a disgracefull love in between a few public sector fat cats, RM and Dell which created a massive and deeply immoral monopoly around education IT spending.

    All it served to do was line the pockets of a few companies and individuals, while putting a strangle hold on inovation and developmemnt of IT in schools.

    It should be akgnowleged, however, that this dod not begin with Becta, but was a legacy inherited from the previous Tory government which engaged in masses of back room deals for public sector spending.


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  6. Anonymous Coward
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    About time

    A friend of mine recently brought home her latest Becta approved kit to show off to me. It was nice, did the job, and cost the school 4 times what you could buy it for at Maplin.

    Becta was a complete waste of money, and I'm glad it's in the bin.

  7. Optymystic

    Myths and Legends

    "Becta didn't buy computers and software for schools, but instead drew up framework agreements that bound local authorities to particular vendors and packages."

    This is no better than a popular myth occasionally endorsed by Becta personnel and others. From time to time with certain funding streams e.g home access Becta was in a position to force the use of its frameworks, but most of the time the role of Becta was purely advisory, it had no powers to mandate the use of its frameworks. Rightly and legally Becta advice and frameworks have been ignored on a daily basis. The very large numbers of Moodling schools and their local authorities are doing nothing illegal despite the fact that no Moodle based service was submitted to the Becta frameworks for learning platforms.

    English schools have very high levels of autonomy over how they spend their budgets, whereas the devolved administrations can more easily spend money on the schools' behalf. An English local authority can only do that if it has specific earmarked funding for the purpose, or to some extent the schools collectively agree that.. With increasing autonomy schools will merely come under pressure from different sources and power bases over how they spend their money. I might have sold my Capita shares but they won't be going out of business just yet.

  8. Rob Daglish
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    I know, I've been thinking that about far too many of the ConDem policies. But Back on topic -

    DIng Dong, the witch is dead,

    which old witch, the wicked witch,

    ding dong the wicked witch is dead!

    Good riddance to a rotten organization, who helped neither schools nor the industry.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I'm not saying that BECTA was any good, but: Schools and education in general should have central purchasing, it would save loads of money - arranging individual contacts for separate schools is nuts, it costs more and you get patchy service. There are large problems with education IT, I am aware of schools where they print out the pupil's records when the leave school because they can't afford the technology to keep records digitaly as CAS/WORM type storage is just not available to them on such a small scale.

    As for equipment costing four times as much as it would from Maplin - it will have more software and a much better support contact with it...

  10. akicif

    Fools or knaves....

    The people lying about BECTA, that is.

    At best, they have about as much wit as the numpties who slagged off Birmingham Council for cancelling Christmas; they've heard something somewhere, and haven't actually got around to checking it - most likely because it fits in with their preconceptions. I suspect that a lot of the time people in schools have been told "BECTA say this" or "BECTA say that" when it's just the LEA or the school admin types making life easier for themselves.

    For a more specific example, if any of them had bothered reading this page: they would have seen that BECTA not only didn't recommend wholesale adoption of Microsoft software, but also recommend Open Software and complained to the OFT about Microsoft's practices....

    Sadly, this also makes it a lot more understandable that our current Government should scrap them.

  11. Anonymous Coward
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    More importantly...

    When are they going to axe Ofcom?

    Oh they won't. That was just a lie to get people to vote for them.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What money savings?

    Good luck getting an 8 hour response support contract out of Maplin. And as for the 'huge' savings that open source will create, it's a myth.

    The large central procurements get significant reductions from MS. An academic license for Office costs £5 and Windows is under £1 when procured in bulk. MS would rather give this stuff away to the education procurements to maintain the next generation of workers that grew up using MS products.

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