Well, well. It’s not everyday you get to pop into Number 10 Downing Street, the very heart of government!
To say we were thrilled to have the opportunity to discuss the future of education in Britain with the Prime Minister’s team is perhaps our understatement of the year! With Edventoperating as the Startup in Residence inside King’s College London, and working closely with Julie Devonshire OBE, Director of Entrepreneurship at KCL, we were invited to chair a roundtable on the future of education in Britain, inside Number 10, hosted by Jimmy McLoughlin, Special Advisor to The Prime Minister, Theresa May.
When charged with chairing a meeting of such potential value for the state of British education, we set about sourcing some of the most exciting entrepreneurs in education and technology, working at all levels of learning. Many of whom have also been a part of the Kings20 Accelerator, which I too joined last academic year. Alongside myself, and Robbie Moore, representing the Edvent team, the other EdTech entrepreneurs joining us inside Number 10 were;
I shall follow this blog up shortly with the key points discussed, lessons learnt, and what this could mean for EdTech. In the meantime, I thoroughly encourage you to read this excellent piece from Tobias, outlining how EdTech has been driven away from innovation and into pre-emptive, forced monetisation for features, rather than driving benefits and outcomes. Kaitlin, by contrast, shares a more global perspective, making comparison with Finland’s remarkable progress. Should you fancy an audacious rallying call of a read, then take you time to pour over Charles’ post outlining the key problem of selling school by school, unit by unit, and the challenges that come as a result of this.
For now, it should go without saying (but it does needs saying) that the future of EdTech in Britain is incredibly bright, with so many of the key ingredients in place. But there is always work to be done. By no means did we simply want to ask government for funding, but to work more closely together, to be mission aligned, and to utilise government leverage and networks to drive student outcomes.
EdTech is a $250 billion market, with experts predicting it to rise to 33% of the entire education industry (which at current levels would be $2 trillion). However, when the behaviour of US and Chinese investors is so radically different to that of British EdTech investors, then there is a clear business reason for this. Understanding the root causes and tackling them is a big motivator for all of us to push for greater collaboration – with government, with other founders, and with education institutions.
I feel very grateful for my relationship with King’s College London and their Award winning Entrepreneurship Institute, and I hope that many more schools, colleges, and universities take up similar approaches. Here at Edvent, we wish to drive this collaboration right here, right now, all in the name of achieving better outcomes for learners, young and old.
If you would like to join us, in the call for collaboration, and radical development in British education and technology, then please do join the EdTech Founders Discord Group, and our WhatsApp Group, for EdTech chats, requests, networking, and a chance to get together and shape the future of education over a drink.