£4.6 million fund to drive EdTech development


Leading British Paralympian Baron Chris Holmes has chaired the first meeting of the EdTech Leadership Group to look into ways that education technology can be used in the classroom.

The move marks the first step of a £4.6 million funding package from the innovation foundation Nesta, to be known as the EdTech Innovation Fund.

The group looked into ways that EdTech can be used to enhance accessibility and inclusion in schools, and into ways that schools can use the technology more effectively.

Part funded by the government’s £10 million EdTech Strategy, the programme is designed to ensure that the needs of teachers, pupils and other interested parties are met.

It is widely thought that EdTech products could help to boost pupil outcomes and help teachers to save time, although scoping work is necessary to see exactly what might be possible.

Minister for universities, science, research and innovation, Chris Skidmore, explained that the EdTech Leadership Group has brought together experts from a range of technology, education and research backgrounds.

“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,” he explained.

He added that the “passion, experience and ability” of Baron Holmes will play a key role in maintaining the momentum of the EdTech Strategy.

The government is working in partnership with Nesta to deliver the strategy and believes that EdTech could make a real difference to teachers and pupils.

Baron Holmes said the EdTech Leadership Group represents “a great opportunity” for many different stakeholders to work together to benefit the entire education system.

As well as providing expert advice, the Group will also showcase best practice in schools and will provide training for teachers and school leaders.

Up to 20 EdTech organisations are set to receive up to £100,000 to help enhance, evaluate and grow the use of digital tools in four of the EdTech Strategy’s ten challenge areas, including:

  • Formative assessment
  • Essay marking
  • Parental engagement
  • Timetabling

Other challenges include looking at how technology can help to reduce teacher workloads, enhance training opportunities, and look into ways that it can support pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).