I’m sticking with Access for the N4/5 courses out of simplicity. There’s a lot in the courses and my thoughts were that it is probably best to focus attention on the design of linked tables, data types and the user interface stuff than have to jump straight into the complexities of the LAMP stack!
That said, I am prepared to revisit this once we’ve been through the course: the higher course is definitely hinting along the lines of SQL, PHP, etc: the course support notes mention ‘web-based’ database structures along with ‘dynamic web pages’ and ‘database-driven website’ – some prior knowledge of this may be desirable for students if the Higher course ends up as busy as the N5 one!
On a related note I can thoroughly recommend XAMPP on a pen drive – I’ve had to use this for AH info systems before, and it takes out the complexity of configuring apache et al on a standalone computer. IT services are often a bit scared of such powerful software though 🙂 Another option might be to get hold of some cheap old computers (eg Mac Mini of eBay) and turn them into linux standalones?
Just my thoughts!