Expert Group launched with £4.6 million investment in EdTech

Pictured: Baron Christopher Holmes
Baron Christopher Holmes

The government has launched a new group to drive the adoption of technology into education. The EdTech Leadership Group, which is being led by Christopher Holmes, Baron Holmes of Richmond MBE, the British visually-impaired former swimmer and life peer in the House of Lords, builds on the announcement from the innovation foundation Nesta, which has also launched a call-out to EdTech companies as part of the EdTech Innovation Fund. This is the first step of a £4.6 million funding programme to stimulate industry innovation and support the development of EdTech products.

The programme, part-funded from the Government’s £10 million investment in the EdTech Strategy, will build the evidence base to ensure that technology meets the needs of teachers, lecturers, pupils and students. The partnership aims to test and scale EdTech products, both new and existing, that could have a substantial impact to help save teachers time and improve pupil outcomes.

Minister for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation Chris Skidmore, said: “Technology can be one of the single most important elements in any school, college or university and act as a catalyst for those who learn and those who teach.

“The first meeting of the EdTech Leadership Group has brought together experts in education, technology and research. Baron Holmes is an outstanding person to lead the group and I am sure that his passion, experience and ability will help us maintain the momentum of the EdTech Strategy.”

Baron Holmes, Chair of the EdTech Leadership Group, added: “I am passionate about the potential of technology; how it can potentially significantly help our educators, improve learning and foster accessibility and inclusion.

“I am truly proud to be chairing this EdTech Leadership Group. It represents a great opportunity to work together to ensure every student and our entire education system can access the benefits that technology can bring.”

The EdTech Leadership Group, chaired by Baron Chris Holmes MBE, co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Assistive Technology, met  to consider how it can get industry, government and the education sector to work together more effectively. It aims to set this out in a formal pact by the end of 2019.

Nesta has also announced the first phase of their work to help deliver the “EdTech Challenges”.

Up to 20 Edtech organisations will receive up to £100,000 to improve, evaluate and grow the reach of digital tools across four of the ten challenge areas announced in the EdTech Strategy:

  • Formative assessment
  • Essay marking
  • Parental engagement
  • Timetabling

Joysy John, Director of Education, Nesta said: “Nesta has a long history of supporting technology in education through investments, research and policy.

“By working in partnership with the Department for Education we hope to have a greater impact on the education system and the EdTech sector. We aim to improve teaching and learning, bring more efficiencies to schools and colleges, save teacher time, and ultimately improve student outcomes.”

EdTech exports are worth an estimated £170 million to the UK economy.