A company which began life in the attic of a Lancashire teacher now supplies schools all over the UK and Europe
Imagine starting up a business from your own home while trying to bring up three children all under the age of four.
That’s how Preston-based Primary Teaching Services began in 1995 under the leadrship of Alan Lucas.
Now the company is about to enter its 20th year in business, employing 35 staff in premises of 24,479 square feet at Walton Summit.
Alan was a primary school teacher who had written schemes of work and policy documents in I.T. and Science which other teachers had shown an interest in.
That was when he had his “eureka moment”.
Realising that all 25,000 primary Schools across the country were trying to write these documents, he decided to present them as sample documents on paper and on disc.
He advertised his products for sale in a small classified advert in the Times Educational Supplement and a few days later the postman arrived with a sack full of orders! The documents were printed from his home P.C. and printer and sent out in hand written envelopes with stamps.
In those early days his family all did odd jobs to help out while funds were tight. This included his young children learning to open all the post and sort it into the right piles!
The income generated from these early sales enabled him to rent office premises and produce his second product; sets of vinyl lower case keyboard stickers to convert computer keyboards from upper case for early year’s classrooms.
Mini smiley face reward stickers followed shortly, which are still in the product range today.
Not long after that he came up other designs for reward stickers, including ones to give marking feedback to save the teacher’s time writing the same thing on every child’s work.
These marking stickers were then converted into a range of self-inking stampers, which proved even more popular with teachers across the country.
Eventually the product range grew to over 100 different items including his most successful product range: booklets to record children’s reading to liaise between home and school.
Charts and posters for classroom walls and many more new products meant that the company needed warehouses and more office space to expand into.
There are now over 3000 products and the company supplies schools in the U.K. and Europe. The product range includes marking stampers, reward stickers, certificates, record books, behaviour schemes and much more.
Alan is still the company chairman but has now handed over the day to day running of the business to Karen White as Managing Director.
A spokesman said: “Karen is dedicated to constantly improving the customer experience, developing staff, keeping up with technology and devising new products for schools, with the help from the whole team at PTS.
“Alan is now taking a back seat in the business and has relocated to London.
“He still works with the Management Team at PTS on strategic planning to ensure the company continues to serve its customers in the future.”