The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise is for British businesses and other organisations who excel in international trade, innovation or sustainable development. They are the highest official UK awards for British businesses and we have just won one!
Lessons from UK schools market applied abroad International Trade TTS Group
Success is built on a growing product range, says John Murray Brown (Financial Times 22 April 2012)
“If you turn a school upside down and shake it, we’re responsible for all the bits that fall out – barring the staff and the children of course,” says Cath Jeffrey, Deputy Managing Director of TTS Group, the Nottinghamshire educational resources company.
It is an arresting image but one she likes to use to explain the company’s extensive product range. Now part of RM, the leading ICT supplier to English schools, TTS designs, creates and supplies educational resources to schools and parents.
Its strategy is based on products inspired by the teachers to pioneer and enable new methods of learning. The company is a leading operator in its sector in the UK. Since 2006, it has also been targeting export markets, with international sales growing 146 per cent in the last three years.
TTS products are made under contract in the UK, China and India. To facilitate its growth aspirations TTS in 2011 started shipping from a third party distribution centre in South China, to export markets outside Europe.
The company catalogue – the sales route is still essentially via mail order in the UK – comprises 14,000 products, everything from smart aids for children with learning difficulties to humdrum items such as desks, chairs and games balls. But within that, TTS has developed many of its own products, which include a rechargeable metal detector, an “artefact pack” for religious education, and a programmable toy called Bee-Bot, its best seller. In the past year alone, the company launched 505 products.
To become an approved supplier to schools is hard, and TTS makes a point of attending all the main teacher conferences, where many of those crucial first contacts with principals, and then ultimately the school bursars, and secretaries are made. Often the idea for a product will arise from a teacher’s classroom experience, in which case the teacher will be paid a royalty by TTS. One example is a TTS-designed writing slope for children with handwriting problems. This followed a meeting with a speech therapist – what the company calls its “golden conversations”. The teacher complained that all the products then available were bulky and wooden and off-putting for the children. “This is Perspex and coloured. So it’s cool. It’s also stackable so a number of children can have one,” says Ms Jeffrey.
The company’s focus is to expand its export markets. After initially targeting Europe and the US, last year it made a big push into Bric countries with visits to Brazil and India. Given the national character of curricula in different countries, Ms Jeffrey says TTS’s sales approach has to be customised for each market. So in the US, TTS works with separate partners for each product group. In France, it sells direct to those French companies serving the French school system. In Germany, the strategy has been different again, employing a local “man on the ground” as Ms Jeffrey describes it.
Pictured above, Cath Jefferey and Andy Wilson with a selection of TTS own resources.
Read the RM press release
TTS are delighted to be amongst the winners of the 14th annual Education Resources Awards (ERAs), announced on Friday 16th March 2012 at a gala event, on the second evening of The Education Show 2012.
These Awards are organised by the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA) and Brilliant Marketing Solutions Ltd, and celebrate the innovative approach to learning and teaching by teachers, institutions and organisations from all levels of education.
We picked up two awards this year, the first in the category;-
WINNER: Best Early Years Resource of Equipment - non ICT
For our Time to Talk Baskets.
A collection of six different themed resources, which lend themselves to developing communication skills. Children love interacting with the delightful contents of each basket. Designed to meet developmental needs, the Talk Time Baskets are aligned to schemas; open ended, engaging and stimulating.
WINNER: Education Exporter of the Year Award
One of the great things about our business model is that we take the best ideas from British teachers and then develop British inspired products and sell them to schools around the world.
To facilitate our growth aspirations we started shipping from a third party distribution centre in South China in 2011, to further improve our service to our export markets outside of Europe.
International growth has been fuelled by an extremely clear strategy and a significant investment plan.
Driven by a desire to give great customer satisfaction (to distribution partners, teachers and pupils), TTS is determined to lead and be successful through a completely engaged workforce which is able to strategically and operationally continually improve in a ‘change is the norm’ environment. The ultimate expression of all our efforts being that we offer an educational resources proposition that is better than any of our global competitors.
Many dyslexic and most visually impaired people will have a problem reading, they can find it difficult to focus on and track text.
RM Education plc, parent company behind TTS, has unveiled a new product designed to help this group to use e-readers or more specifically the market leading Kindle Keyboard 3G.
The “READRight” was the winning entry in RM’s annual Entrepreneur of the Year competition and was designed by TTS employee John Hampton, a Quality Control Administrator.
READRight, is an innovative leather style protective cover to fit the Kindle keyboard 3G e-reader, with a built-in coloured screen filter. There are three models in the range each having a different coloured screen that changes the background colour, for example; black text with a yellow background, (also available in Green and Pink).
These coloured filters are proven to help people with visual impairments track and focus more easily when reading e-books, reducing visual stress.
With one in ten people diagnosed with dyslexia and one in thirty having some form of visual impairment. READRight has the potential to enable millions to take advantage of having a (virtual) “library in your pocket.”
READRight’s inventor John Hampton said: “I saw a gap in the market when I discovered that there was nothing like READRight available for people with visual impairments, like dyslexia, who want to use electronic reading devices. It’s been proven to work on hard copy books but there was nothing for e-readers. READRight is appealing because it is inclusive – people who may have thought e-books weren’t for them can now take advantage of the same technology as everyone else. It’s amazing to think that what was a passing thought when watching telly last year is now a product about to be launched to a global marketplace, thanks to TTS and RM’s commitment to innovation.”
Available in a range of three colours, READRight for the Kindle Keyboard 3G is available via Amazon priced at £12.99. Or buy the READRight direct from TTS. With the additional benefit that they look cool and protect your Kindle’s screen.
READRight could become this season’s must-have e-reader accessory, whether you need one or not.
The Education Resources Awards highlight the quality and diversity of educational products and resources, excellent educational establishments and the most dedicated members of the teaching profession and supplies industry, all working together to encourage the very best in education.
We have had four of our educational resources shortlisted! How exciting is that? VERY! We work very hard at TTS when designing resources for schools and children, so when we are put on a shortlist there is lots of tea and biscuits to celebrate.
The Wooden Treasure Cylindersare filled with items to capture children’s interest. Roll them, shake them, twist and turn them! Ideal for sensory and explorative activities.
The Easi-Detectors are great for outdoor exploration and learning about different materials. There’s no need to worry about batteries as these brightly coloured mini metal detectors are rechargeable!
The Easi-Walker is a set of 6 pedometers designed for children, allowing them to record their step count throughout the day. The day can be broken up in up to nine different activities such as walking to school, sports activities, or school outings, and the data collected can be uploaded to a PC for analysis using the Easi-Walker software at any time. A great way to introduce ICT, Maths and Science into your PE lesson.
The Time to Talk Baskets are a fantastic collection that lends itself beautifully to developing communication skills. Children will love interacting with the delightful contents. Designed to meet developmental needs, aligned to schemas, open ended, engaging and stimulating.
To find out more about the Education Resources Awards 2012 and the shortlist click here »
We are soooo excited! We spent the better part of 2011 talking to teachers, advisers, nursery educationalists and more to find out exactly what you want and how we can help you bring out the best in every child. All this and more is now bursting its way out of our shiny NEW catalogues! They are AWESOME even if we do say so ourselves :0)
TO ORDER YOUR FREE CATALOGUES CLICK HERE »
We’re delighted that we have two products short listed for this year’s BETT awards and the excitement is building as we near the awards night on Wednesday 11th January, following the first day of the BETT Show.
Our Talking Pegs are up for the best ‘Innovation in ICT’ category and Easi-Ears are up for best Digital Devices. This is the third year running that TTS have had products short listed for an BETT award. Last year Sound Shuffle was short listed in the SEN category, and in 2010, Attention Tracker and Chatter Block. All these products will be exhibited at out BETT stand, P22.
Fingers crossed this year our entries turn out to be winners!
It’s that time of year again when we are getting ready for BETT - See us at Stand P22
BETT is the world’s leading event for educational technology, dedicated to showcasing the latest UK and international products and best practice.
TTS is well-known for our range of own-developed electronic resources designed specifically for education, our ethos being innovation, robustness, ease of use and value for money.
For loads more information about TTS at the BETT Show and our BETT shortlisted resources go to tts-group.co.uk/BETT
We know how important school identity is, so, we have pulled together our very first range of personalised products which will help you add that extra ‘touch’ to your school. Beautifully constructed from top quality materials, these products will help raise standards in your school and leave lasting positive impressions for years to come.
They say you only get one chance to make a great first impression, so take a look at our Personalised Entrance Mats. These mats will help to project a message and culture that you desire, as people walk into your school, it will also save your floors(and pocket!) from muddy foot marks! All you need to do is send us your school name and logo, choose a style and colour and we will do the rest!
Why not bring local Geography to life for your children, with an Ordnance Survey playground sign or a Local Area Aerial Map, with your school at the centre! Send us your post code and we will print your personalised map for you.
Reinforce positive behavior at every turn with our Personalised Sign Boards. Make sure your children know your school rules or goals, whether Golden, Playground, Lunchtime or anything else, these boards will catch your children’s attention. Just choose your template, provide us with the artwork and leave the rest to us!
How to order your Personalised Products Visit our website: http://goo.gl/dqXOE to view the full range of personalised products on offer. To order simple fill in the order form and send to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Got feedback for us? Drop us an email at email@example.com
We’ve made available the first part put our new synthetic phonics programme. This has been written to complement each of our phonics kits, and provide a sturdy framework for teaching synthetic phonics, the government’s recommended method of teaching children to read. It is split into 5 progressive stages full of ideas and activities which help teach children how to read and spell from the most basic CV words to more complicated grapheme-phoneme correspondences.
Download the first stage of our Synthetic Phonics Programme for FREE now! This stage introduces children to the notion of sound, exploring speaking and listening, speech sounds, and good listening.
By the end of this section children will be able to discriminate between different sounds, listen attentively, speak confidently, reproduce orally the phonemes they hear and begin to segment words into phonemes.
You will need the Complete Phonics Phase 1 Resource Kit to support the activities in this programme. The pack consists of:
Click here to view lots more, new and existing, Phonics Resources from TTS Group.
Look out for Stage 2 of our Synthetic Phonics Programme, coming soon!
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Following extensive research and working with Childminders, we’ve developed a range of products with Childminder budgets and needs in mind. The new Childminders Choice Range is split into the 6 areas of learning and development, plus another 2 key sections of ICT and Outdoor, to help Childminders select the best products to fulfil their obligations under the EYFS.
Many Childminders have limited resource budgets and since they also need to fulfil the learning and development needs of the EYFS, we’ve made it easy to select the best resources to help them do that at prices which won’t break the bank!
The range consists of childminding resources that wouldn’t be classed as ‘hand-me-downs’, rather a range of educational products that you wouldn’t find easy to find on the high street. We’ve many ‘own developed’ products for this purpose, for example the Feelings Talk Ball to help children with Personal, Social and Emotional Development. Also Giant Weaving Numbers for Numeracy Outdoors, and Mirror Trays to help with Knowledge and Understanding of the World.
The range also comes with a selection of resources that are great to share amongst a childminding group. One of the newest products is the Talking Tubes Telephone Exchange which is ideal for developing communication, language and literacy. This allows up to eight children to build a Talking Tubes telephone network with many different combinations that allow for flexible play. Designed for both outdoor and indoor play in mind the Talking Tubes Telephone Network is a great way to get lots of children talking on their own and in a group, it encourages the use of coded messages and the development of communication techniques.
Visit our website for the full range of Childminding Resources.