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Government funds education technology product development


A new education technology fund will provide up to 20 organisations with grants to develop digital products to support schools and colleges.

The fund, managed by innovation charity Nesta with money from the Department for Education, will issue grants of up to £100,000 to up to 20 organisations to improve, evaluate or increase the use of products in four areas: formative assessment (ongoing during the learning process); essay marking; parental engagement; and timetabling. Nesta and partners will also provide successful applicants with support and advice.

Applications can be made by companies, charities or social enterprises with a closing date of 9am on 15 July. Following shortlisting over the summer, grants will be offered in September. The work is being paid for by £3.5 million from the Department for Education and £1.1 million from Nesta.

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

The grant programme was announced with the first meeting of the EdTech Leadership Group, announced in April, chaired by Baron Chris Holmes, co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Assistive Technology. The group plans to publish a pact on how industry, government and the education sector can work together more effectively by the end of this year.

The government hopes to use technology to reduce teachers’ marking workload, provide them with better training, improve anti-cheating software and help support people with special educational needs and disabilities.


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