About Nesta

Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society.

Broader, fairer and smarter education

What would an education system that prepares young people for the demands of this century look like?

At Nesta, we are committed to shifting the current UK education system so that it shapes a future where all young people can flourish, regardless of their background. We have reimagined what education could look like if the needs of 21st Century learners were placed at the centre of our system.

Our vision is for an education system that is broader, fairer, and smarter

We believe that:

  1. Our education system is narrowly focused on exam results
  2. Women and people from disadvantaged backgrounds are not getting the same opportunities to build the capabilities and confidence to work in tech
  3. The education system and its actors are not making the most of technology and data

All young people should be equipped with the right skills, knowledge, attitudes and qualifications to succeed in the future. After researching the challenges facing the education system, running experiments and investing in solutions, we have established a vision for an education system that is fit for the future.

Championing a broader vision of education

We believe education should be broader, and about more than just exams and academic achievement.

That’s why we launched the Future Ready Fund, which helps organisations working with young people to build social skills and emotional resilience. The winners of our fund will be announced at Nesta Education 2019, a flagship Nesta conference that convenes key education stakeholders to discuss why we need a shift in the system and what that could look like in practice.

Nesta Education 2019 - shaping the future, shifting the system

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Supporting a fairer system of education

We also believe education should be fairer.

We want to increase diversity and enable equal opportunity for women, minorities, and those from disadvantaged backgrounds to have better access to careers in technology and innovation. We’ve been researching how women and those from disadvantaged backgrounds can break the mould in the field of technology. During our flagship conference, specifically, we will discuss how we can improve gender balance in Computer Science at school.

Promoting a smarter system of education

Lastly, we believe education should be smarter, with a system that supports teachers and learners to make better use of technology and data.

In promoting a smarter education system, we fund, trial and build evidence of what tech works in schools and colleges. We have already begun to explore the role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in schools and will soon be launching a report publishing our findings.

We know that the gap between what is learned in schools and colleges, and the skills required for work in a changing economy is widening. The current education system is failing to keep up with what is needed to acquire future skills and we want to fix this. We want a better, inclusive and more equitable society, a future where all young people can thrive.

On the 28th of February we will be joined by world-leading educators and innovators at our flagship conference to discuss how we can make this vision a reality. Confirmed speakers include Chi Onwurah MP, the Shadow Minister for Industrial Strategy, Luke Tryl, Director of Corporate Strategy at Ofsted, Andria Zafirakou, the 2018 Global Teacher Prize Winner, Tristam Hunt, Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum and Professor Becky Francis, Director of the UCL Institute of Education, among others.

Let’s all come together to discuss, debate and learn about how to shape the future and shift the education system as we know it.

To access the Nesta Education 2019 agenda and speaker listing, please visit our event page.


Joysy John

Joysy John

Joysy John

Director of Education

Joysy was the Director of Education and led Nesta's work in education across innovation programmes, research and investment.

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Ella Duffy

Ella Duffy

Ella Duffy

Intern, Education

Ella worked to support a number of projects within the education innovation team.

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Omolara Olusola

Omolara Olusola

Omolara Olusola

Partnerships Coordinator, Education

Omolara was the Partnerships Coordinator in the Education team.

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