Pearson enters UK school software market with acquisition of Phoenix First and SummIT for schools

Pearson plc, the international media and education company, has acquired Phoenix First and SummIT for Schools Ltd, two leading providers of management and information systems to the UK education market.

2,500 schools in the UK use Phoenix First and SummIT systems to manage and analyse school and pupil performance data, such as timetabling, registrations and admissions, pupil records, exam performance and special educational needs. Pearson will retain the Phoenix brand names and support the continued development of its products. Ann Scott, Phoenix managing director, will continue to lead the business.

Commenting on the acquisition, Peter Jovanovich, chief executive of Pearson's education operations, said:

“As we have built our education business around the world, a number of trends have caught our attention. Increased public and private investment, the renewed focus on standards and accountability and the possibilities of technology are changing the way teachers teach and students learn. We see major opportunities to grow our business in the UK.

“Over the last few years there has been major government investment in improving information technology infrastructure across the UK education system. Schools and local education authorities are now looking to use this technology to improve the efficiency of schools and enhance learning for pupils across the UK. Phoenix will play an important role in helping to meet this demand.”

Phoenix First is the leading software provider to the education market in Scotland with a customer base of 1,500 out of Scotland’s 3,100 schools. It has a smaller, but faster growing, presence in England and Wales, serving 1,000 schools out of 27,000.

Ann Scott, Phoenix managing director, said:

“The Phoenix products lead the market in Scotland and are attracting great interest from local education authorities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. As part of Pearson, we see many opportunities to develop our existing systems and create new products.”



  1. Phoenix First and SummIT had revenues of around £2 million in 2000.

  2. With increasing government commitment to harness technology to supporting education, the UK market for information and communications technology is forecast to grow from £565 million in 2000 to £880 million in 2004, a compound annual growth rate of 16%. (Source: ABN AMRO)

  3. Phoenix First and SummIT for Schools

    Phoenix First’s products include: Phoenix Central which provides systems for local education authorities to manage and analyse school and pupil performance data, and to share it with schools and government departments and Phoenix Gold which enables schools to manage effectively areas such as pupil attendance, pupil records, staff absence, exam information, fee billing for independent schools, registrations and admissions.

    SummIT for Schools – which was jointly owned by Phoenix First founder Ann Scott and Lynne Taylor – produces software which enables teachers to track their pupils’ achievements and progress throughout their school careers.

  4. Pearson Education

    Pearson Education is the world's leading education company, active in three major markets:

    Curriculum. It publishes educational programmes for use by teachers, students and professionals. It’s major publishing brands include Addison Wesley, Allyn & Bacon, Benjamin Cummings, Longman, Prentice Hall, Pearson Learning and Scott Foresman, Electronic Education and NCS Novanet. It leads in online learning in US schools and colleges and, through its Learning Network, in US homes.

    Academic and Professional Testing. It develops and processes tests that measure the academic progress made by students. In the US, for example, it manages and processes tests on behalf of 20 states, scoring over 80 million tests a year. It has just won the first major contract awarded in the US to conduct school tests electronically.

    Educational Services. It produces and delivers enterprises software for the management of schools; manages data for schools and other government agencies; and provides teacher training. Its software is used in more than 40,000 US schools, helping teachers and administrators to keep attendance records, grades and test scores and to manage state curriculum requirements.

    Pearson Education is the global education business of Pearson plc, the international media company. For more information, visit

Further Information

Luke Swanson Pearson 0207 010 2313


David Lloyd NCS Pearson 0207 010 2316