Back to school season is almost upon us and soon parents will be desperately searching shop shelves for software that might help their little ones get a step ahead in the classroom. Helen French takes a look at what's out there...

Back to School software

Sesame Street Preschool Triple Pack

SRP: £14.99
Distributor: Interactive Ideas

They say: Developed by trusted experts in childhood education, these educational Sesame Street titles help children learn fundamental skills essential for every preschooler’s growth and progress. Activities are specially designed for two to five-year-olds and automatically adjust to allow children to play at their own pace and appropriate skill level, providing individualised feedback and support. Each title features fun and engaging activities, encouraging children to learn as they sing, play and explore.

Claymation Studio 3.0 Deluxe

SRP: £40.84
Distributor: Gem Distribution

They say: With Honestech Claymation Studio, you can easily create stop motion video. Capture images using a digital camera, webcam or DV camcorder and add background images, audio, and music to create your own stop-motion movies. Capture images of clay action figures, still photos and drawings to create your own stop-motion movies. Includes Doggie Cam – a model dog that incorporates a USB 2.0 PC camera.

Microsoft Office Home and Student 2010

SRP: from £89.99 (keycard edition), up to £112.33 (DVD)
Distributor: Gem Distribution, VIP, EntaTech, Westcoast, Computer 2000, Ingram Micro

They say: Includes 2010 versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. With Microsoft Office Home and Student 2010, you and your kids can create great schoolwork and home projects from multi-page bibliographies to multimedia presentations. Capture ideas and set them apart with video-editing features and dynamic text effects. Then easily collaborate with classmates without being face-to-face thanks to new Web Apps tools.

Microsoft Office for Mac Home and Student 2011

SRP: £89.99 one user, £109.99 for three users
Distributor: Ingram Micro, Westcoast, Gem Distribution, Computer 2000

They say: Microsoft Office is the most-trusted and most-used productivity suite ever. And Office for Mac 2011 is here to help you do more with your Mac your way. Use familiar applications like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint to help you take your ideas further. And since Office for Mac is compatible with Office for Windows, you can work on documents with virtually anyone on a Mac or PC.

Berlitz Chinese/Japanese Premier v2

SRP: £30.62
Distributor: Gem Distribution, Interactive Ideas

They say: With this unique, time-proven learning system, we’ve provided three powerful ways for you to learn Chinese/Japanese: 1) on your Windows PC or Macintosh; 2) in your car; 3) on the go using an iPod or other mobile listening device. While we see the importance of transliteration when learning Chinese and Japanese, we also believe that to truly learn either of these languages, you really need to know the characters, or native script.

Berlitz French Premier v2 (also available as German/Italian/Spanish)

SRP: £29.40
Distributor: Gem Distribution, Interactive Ideas

They say: Experience for yourself how fun and easy it is to use the Berlitz Language Learning System. Berlitz has been synonymous with effective foreign language learning for 130 years.

Letts GCSE Megapack

SRP: £35.74
Distributor: Interactive Ideas

They say: The UK’s number one GCSE revision guide. Guaranteed to help you achieve the best grade possible in all key GCSE subjects. Designed to make revising enjoyable and effective, these CD-ROMs are simple and quick to use, packed full of progress checks to test your knowledge, and also contain really useful exam tips and advice. Written and tested by GCSE examiners, you won’t find a more comprehensive revision pack than this one.

Learning Ladder KS2 quad Pack

SRP: £20.41
Distributor: Interactive Ideas

They say: Powerful curriculum-based learning system designed to take your child through their primary education and ‘climb the steps’ of the learning ladder. Learning Ladder supports the National Literacy Strategy and the National Numeracy Strategy. Provides a complete learning program for children aged 7-11, covering the core subjects Reading, Writing and Maths.

Ability Home Office

SRP: £27.99
Distributor: VIP

They say: Ability Office Home offers six feature-rich applications in one powerful, compatible and, best of all, affordable office suite. Just perfect for working from home, allowing files to be edited and exchanged with those back in the office, and absolutely ideal for students and school children. It’s so easy to get started, thanks to its familiar user interface.

Acronis True Image Home

SRP: £39.99
Distributor: EntaTech

They say: Have you ever accidentally deleted a file, had a virus corrupt your files, or had a disk fail? These are just a few examples of how people lose homework, essays, pictures, music, personal and financial data every day. Don’t let this happen to you. Now is the time to protect your PC with Acronis True Image Home 2011.

Driving Test Success: All Tests 2011 Edition

SRP: £10.20
Distributor: Interactive Ideas

They say: Every year we see a new crop of ‘summer holiday’ learner drivers preparing for greater independence and university life. The Driving Test Success titles fly off the shelves at this time of year, with 17-year-olds in education being a major segment of the demographic. With over 3.5 million units sold in the UK, Driving Test Success is the number one choice for keeping the costs of learning to drive down by helping you to pass those driving tests first time.

Photo Studio 3rd Edition/Desktop Publishing 3rd Edition/Web Design Studio 3rd Edition/Select Graphic Design Studio

SRP: £10.20 each
Distributor: Interactive Ideas

They say: The Select titles provide everything you need to create, edit and design all kinds of documents and graphics. From enhancing your digital photos and creating the simplest card to delivering professional visually-rich newsletters, catalogues and websites, there is a Select title that lets you do just that. The perfect solution for home, school and business users.

LiveDrive Online Backup – 1 year

SRP: £39.99
Distributor: VIP

They say: Livedrive monitors your files as you work, and backs them up as soon as they are saved. As well as backing up all hard drives and external drives on your computer it also keeps the past 30 versions of your files, so that you can revert back to them at any time. It keeps all deleted files for 30 days so you can easily restore them if you need to.

Teaching-you 101 Languages of the World

SRP: £40.84
Distributor: Interactive Ideas

They say: Are you a language enthusiast, fascinated by different languages? Maybe you want to surprise your language tutor or greet business partners in their native language. Whatever your interest, the Languages of the World series features a wealth of languages, with words, phrases and all the tools to get you talking the talk in no time.

Jump Ahead Starting School / Year 1 / Year 2

SRP: £10.20
Distributor: Interactive Ideas

They say: Packed with activities, every title in the Jump Ahead range is designed specifically for the target age group. Youngsters will fall in love with these educational adventures alongside Hopsalot the Rabbit, Frankie the Dog and their many friends. Jump Ahead creates enjoyable environments for all ages to learn essential skills, solve fun challenges and much more.

CorelDraw Graphics Suite X5 Home and Student

SRP: £99
Distributor: Computers Unlimited, Ingram Micro

They say: When it comes to illustration, layout, tracing, photo editing and web graphics, CorelDraw Home & Student Suite X5 brings out the best in any budding designer. This professional quality graphics suite is loaded with tools for creating everything from web graphics and T-shirt designs, to logos, cards and flyers. A built-in search tool finds content fast, while helpful tutorials speed up learning.

EdAlive range

SRP: £16.99
Distributor: Koch Media

They say: These EdAlive titles, including Baggin Dragon v2, Spelling Force v2, Typing Tournament v2, Ultimate Maths Invaders v2, Volcanic Panic v2 and Words Rock v2 are the ideal software to teach any child. They each have a simple, kid-friendly animated interface that enhances self-directed learning. They cover topics from maths to spelling and typing.

Braintastic Range

SRP: £29.99 for Word Skills bundle, £99.99 for mega bundle, £16.99 for single titlesDistributor: Koch Media

They say: The Braintastic system consists of three series covering Maths, Reading Success and Word Skills with titles for ages five to 15-plus. It has a reward-based learning system, where the work is almost as much fun as the games. Activity types include text input, missing answer, drag-and-drop, multiple choice, or true or false. Gives your child maximum motivation to keep on learning. Zero-in on individual learning needs with diagnostic tools.

Adobe Creative Suite Master Collection Student & Teacher

SRP: £423.34
Distributor: Computer 2000, Ingram Micro

They say: Make an impact with exquisite design for virtually any screen. Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 Master Collection software is a comprehensive creative environment that provides a full complement of design and production tools. Design with professional imaging, vector, and page layout tools; develop online experiences with the ultimate web tools; and create mind-blowing video with high-performance editing, effects and audio tools.

Adobe Creative Suite 5.5 Design Premium Student & Teacher

SRP: £246.86
Distributor: Computer 2000, Ingram Micro

They say: The ultimate toolkit for designing eye-catching print content, elegant eBooks, dynamic PDF files, world-class websites and interactive SWF content that displays consistently across screens of virtually any size. Deliver eye-catching designs for print, web, and devices such as tablets, e-readers and smartphones using the latest versions of Adobe Photoshop Extended, Illustrator, InDesign, Dreamweaver, Flash Professional, Flash Catalyst, Fireworks, and Acrobat Pro.

Sibelius Student

SRP: £89
Distributor: Douglas Stewart Group

They say: A scaled down version of Sibelius 6 for practising musicians that are using Sibelius already at school. You’ve got Sibelius at school – now there’s a brand new version for you to use at home, just what you need for music homework, whether you’re doing GCSE, AS or A levels. This new edition is based on the best-selling Sibelius software – it has everything you need for composing, arranging and completing exercises, plus ideas hub and more.

Computer 2000: 0871 880 3000

Computers Unlimited: 020 8358 5858

Douglas Stewart Group: 01252 612 806

EntaTech: 0333 101 1000

Focus Multimedia: 01889 570156

Gem Distribution: 01279 822822

Ingram Micro: 0871 973 3000

Interactive Ideas: 020 8805 1000

Koch Media: 01256 385200

VIP: 0871 622 7500

Westcoast: 0118 912 6000

Check Also

Technology leaders are facing unique challenges – only a unique approach to leadership will solve them

As spiralling inflation, interest rate hikes and the threat of recession drive up the cost …