Rocket Fund: Stage 2 update

In June, 35 state schools across Britain launched crowdfunding campaigns to buy the latest technology products and services in the second stage of Rocket Fund. Here’s an update on their progress and an insight into why five businesses wanted to support them.

Stage 2 progress update 

As of 11 July 2017...

  • Number of schools: 35
  • Percentage above their minimum target: 60 per cent
  • Biggest single donation: £912
  • Amount of match funding from businesses: £4,500
  • Total amount raised for schools so far: £28,000

Fundraising deadline: Midnight Friday 14 July

Where are the schools?

During this stage of Rocket Fund, we have schools involved from across Britain. Check out the map below to see their locations.

From Devon to Aberdeenshire, the campaigns range from a set of drones to start a drone academy and a portable recording studio for a school radio show to Chromebooks to enable flipped learning and spy cameras to monitor local wildlife.


Why did businesses want to support schools on Rocket Fund?

To help the schools reach their targets, five businesses (Jisc, Mint Digital, pi-top, Busuu and Croud) provided match funding, responding to the urgent need for more people with digital skills in the workforce and the responsibility of businesses to help schools keep up with technology.

Ben Knight, COO at Croud, a global digital marketing agency, said:

“We believe new technology offers an incredibly exciting future for teachers and students. The schools we are match funding are raising money to buy VR headsets. VR is at the tipping point for its role in society, and already with products like Google Expeditions the ability for teachers to take students to explore coral reefs or the surface of Mars in an afternoon offers educational possibilities like never before. VR brings lessons to life and giving someone else the ability to experience what we would all have loved as a child makes us very happy!"

Paul Feldman, Chief Executive at Jisc, a provider of digital solutions for UK education and research, said:

We can’t ignore that digital skills are becoming increasingly important and that education needs to adapt to this. Getting the right tech into schools makes a huge difference and can improve capabilities. We often find that though most students arriving at college know how to use tech recreationally, they lack the skills to use it in a meaningful and productive way. Incorporating the use of tech in the education system from a younger age can help to change this.”

Bernhard Niesner, CEO and co-founder at busuu, the global language learning community, said:

“Education and technology go hand in hand, not only in self-study learning like we create with busuu, but also in the classroom. Teachers should have the best available tech that enables kids to learn in a practical way. We believe in building links with teachers and listening to their priorities."

Daryl Rodrigo Vice President at pi-top, creators of DIY computers said:

We agree that education in tech should be a big priority. Classrooms haven’t evolved much over the last 100 years, possibly excluding the introduction of interactive whiteboards. Schools are traditionally quite risk averse. Rocket Fund allows for experimentation, which is an important part of the process of change. There also needs to be a wealth of diversity in the people who work in tech and this should begin at school.”

Tim Morgan, CEO and co-founder of Mint Digital, a venture builder said:

“There is unquestionably a digital skills gap in the UK. There is an enormous demand for talent in London - from Silicon Valley tech companies to investment banks and startups. The supply of skills just isn’t keeping pace with demand. There is a gap between the real world application of skills and what they’re able to teach - which is inevitable because the industry moves so quickly. Businesses could do more to support schools with building digital skills. It’s so hard for teachers to keep up with the rapid pace of change of tech, but it’s the job of digital entrepreneurs. So they should be involved and supporting.”

Want to get involved in the next wave?

The next wave will start in the next academic year.

Schools: to get involved, just start creating a project here.

Businesses: contact us: [email protected].


Ben Gill

Ben Gill

Ben Gill

Senior Programme Manager

Ben was a Senior Programme Manager in the Innovation Lab's Education Team.

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