Established in September 1971, the Drake Group is celebrating a key milestone as it reaches 50 years of trading.
The Cardiff based company offers specialist educational aids to schools and educational suppliers world-wide through Drake Educational Associates as well as Welsh Language resources through Gwasg Addysgol Drake.
The late Geoff Drake started the Drake Group, with his brother Harry Drake, and it is now led by Geoff’s daughter Heather Drake.
Over five decades the company has provided a product range to reflect the everchanging educational landscape and has remained committed to making childhood education its number one concern.
Since its launch, numerous innovative classroom aids have been created and distributed by the company to its global customers including the Language Master System which helps children with literacy skills and the IRIS self-learning independent system which assists literacy and numeracy knowledge. In recent years, the company has seen its product range increase to embrace new technology and educational changes, including a digital jukebox which enables learners to access pre-recorded stories, songs and poems at the press of a switch.
In 1979, the company established its Welsh language educational publishing company, Gwasg Addysgol Drake. Its first release was Hawliau Plant, a series of 10 books celebrating the UNESCO International Year of the Child.
The most recent Welsh language publications have been introduced as a response to the closure of schools during the COVID-19 pandemic to provide learners with the tools and resources to make study as captivating as possible. With home schooling and online teaching more common than ever, there was an urgent need for digital resources which could be accessed remotely.
Drake created digital versions of their popular Welsh language reading schemes, Prosiect X and Coeden Ddarllen Rhydychen, and put them online, a major achievement in a very short time, including over 190 books.
Throughout its history, the development of technology in an educational setting has created many challenges and opportunities for the company. It is undeniable that digital technology plays a fundamental role in education today which has been successful in advancing children’s communications, collaboration, and coordination skills.
Reflecting on this milestone Heather Drake paid tribute to her father’s vision which still drives the team today.
“He was passionate about the value of education and the importance of providing all children with a meaningful educational experience. At countless exhibitions, teacher seminars and conferences he would talk to teachers and other educational professionals about the way in which the Drake resources would be of benefit to learners and he was tireless in his mission to produce and source high quality classroom resources. The company’s success is based on this dedication and it continues to inspire us today.”
Based in Cardiff, the Drake Group also includes Drake Audio Visual. Having been around since the beginning of the industry, Drake Audio Visual has seen technical developments fuel an incredible era in human communication. During the 1970’s, the company’s main activity was servicing 16mm cine film projectors on merchant ships docked in Cardiff. It now coordinates projects involving the latest presentation and video conference technology.
Heather Drake commented on the success of the business,
“Over 50 years the company has continued to provide innovative and exciting learning tools and resources. We are delighted to be celebrating such a significant milestone for a small company like ours and it is thanks to the hard work and dedication of our team.”