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Happy birthday to us - celebrating 20 years of e4education!

13 April 2021 John Roach

Celebrating 20 years of creativity, innovation and pushing the boundaries of school website technology

Like many great companies, e4education started out from a humble home office. That was back in April 2001. Today the business has grown to employ more than 40 people and support more than 2,500 schools and trusts.

e4education’s founder and CEO, John Roach, takes a look back over the last 20 years and how the business has evolved.

2001: The year of firsts

CEO John Roach on the BETT stand in 2002
CEO & Founder John Roach on the eforeducation stand at BETT 2002

In 2001 we saw a number of technological advances including the launch of iTunes and the first iPod, the first mobile phone with a colour screen and the creation of Wikipedia.

Back then it had been 10 years since the first website went live but many businesses and institutions still didn’t own a website. This was about to change.

What began as a request from my daughter’s teacher to create a website for the local primary school, quickly became a successful business venture. eforeducation was born.

Word spread to other schools in the Peterborough area and beyond. Looking back, our software was very basic compared to today, but even then, it was very leading-edge. As the Internet was accessed using dial-up, web design was very static and in essence an online brochure.

The original logo - eforeducation in red
The original eforeducation logo

Growing pains

In 2004 eforeducation became e4education. We were able to purchase the domain name for £200 and we moved into a small office in an old brick chapel next to Northborough Primary School in Peterborough. At that point we were working with approximately 200 schools.

Many of the schools we worked with at the start are still with us today which is testament to the support we provide as well as our evolving technology and creative designs, but it hasn’t always been plain sailing.

With every business there are growing pains. Throughout the early to mid-years we did not plan effectively for our growth in customer numbers. This could have seriously damaged the service and reputation we had worked so hard to build. Quickly we learnt to carefully plan all of our activities and the outcomes that could occur. We then invested the required resources and skills to ensure that we could provide the very best product and service possible.

One of the most challenging periods for e4education, and me personally, was between 2008-2012. The world economy collapsed affecting budgets and confidence. During this period, I learned one valuable lesson - how to survive. It was an extremely tough time, but we came through it and the business is stronger as a result.

Celebrating the successes

Staff at the 10 year celebrations
10 year anniversary celebrations - April 2011

Over the years there have been many successes. We celebrate every new customer. We celebrate every time we launch a new customer website. But the ultimate highlight is when we get a testimonial or thank you message from a customer. Each one tells us that we are still getting things right.

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, we have continued to grow our customer base and provide products and services that help schools succeed. We have enhanced our product offering to include easy to use and affordable communication tools and more recently a remote learning platform for schools.

Working closely with the brilliant people at Greenshaw Learning Trust we’ve developed an online platform to host their secondary school curriculum resources to make them available to all schools free of charge. The traffic to the platform is enormous and it is great to be part of something that helps young people learn from home.

Vision for the future

The vision has always been to create a company that provides high-quality products and services to schools to help make their lives easier, enhance their reputation and improve their community engagement.

With over 2,000 loyal and happy customers I am happy to say we are achieving this but we are constantly striving to improve on it. We employ hard working, talented people and create a working environment that allows them to thrive and grow.

The whole team outside the office - Jan 2020
The last team photo before the COVID-19 pandemic
e4education staff January 2020

As technology continues to advance, design and website trends evolve, and our customers’ needs change so will we.

e4education is proud to serve the education sector. We will continue to push boundaries to deliver a first-class service and deliver innovative and creative solutions to our customers – I’m excited for the future.

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