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  • Finalists of the Education Open Data Challenge announced

Three finalists for a national competition called the Open Data Challenge Series, run by Nesta and the Open Data Institute, have been announced today, following a weekend event in London in which 15 teams competed in the education strand of the series.

The Open Data Challenge Series is a two year programme that looks to find solutions to social issues through challenge prizes. A total of seven challenges will run across the programme and are open to all.

Each finalist in the education strand created a product or a service which uses open data to enable parents to make more informed choices about their child’s education, either by helping them express a preference for a school, choose a subject or other learning priorities or engage with their children’s learning.

The three finalists are:

  • Illustreets - a location research tool for England to help parents in choosing schools that are the “best-fit” for their children rather than just the “best schools”.

  • In context – Brenda: a tool that allows a university admissions officer or recruiter to contextualise social background and education achievements of an applicant.

  • Skills Route - a service which will calculate which schools, colleges or apprenticeship providers are right for you, based on your location, subject preferences and likely GCSE attainment.

Geoff Mulgan, Open Data Challenge Series  judge and Chief Executive at Nesta, said: “Data has given people easier ways use public transport but isn’t routinely used to help parents become more involved in their child’s education. Our Education Open Data Challenge is backing imaginative ways to make education fairer, more transparent and more effective, not just for parents who already know how the systems work but also for everyone else.   We had a great field of entrants and our three finalists have shown viable and creative ways of using open data.   We have high hopes that their ideas will before long be helping parents and students across the UK.”

Jeni Tennison, Open Data Challenge Series  judge and Technical Director, Open Data Institute, said: "We had an impressive group of teams at the Education Open Data Challenge Creation Weekend with a variety of uses of open data. I look toward to the Open Data Institute working with the three finalists over the next couple of months to help them get the most out of the available open data on education."

Peter Ashworth, Open Data Challenge Series judge and School Improvement Adviser for the London Borough of Haringey said: “It was a pleasure to be part of the judging process and see the hard work and creative effort that had gone into the ideas and the presentations. Extremely difficult to find the three to go through, but I look forward to them working with Haringey parents to refine their ideas further.”

Prizes of £5,000 each have been awarded to the finalists. They will now be supported by the Open Data Institute and Nesta who will give them access to relevant expertise and mentoring to develop their projects. Throughout the next phase of development, they will assess the impact of their projects.

The finalists were selected at a hack style event (Creation Weekend) that enabled participants to test their products and pitch their ideas to the judging panel. An overall winner will be chosen later this year and will receive a £50,000 prize.


The education strand of the Open Data Challenge Series was supported by RM Education and Haringey Council. For more information on the Open Challenge Series visit:


For any Open Data Challenge Series media requests contact: Christine Crowther in Nesta’s press office: [email protected] / 020 7438 2611, or Emma Thwaites, Open Data Institute, on 07990 804805.

Notes to Editors:

The Education Open Data Challenge finalists used a range of data sets including school application and admission records, Ofsted grades,  post-16 qualification and subject data, RM School Finder, Schools, pupils and their characteristics, IDACI scores by postcode  and National Success Rate data.

The judges at the Creation Weekend were:

  • Geoff Mulgan (Chair), Chief Executive, Nesta

  • Jeni Tennison, Technical Director, Open Data Institute

  • Peter Ashworth, Haringey Council

  • David Anfield, Delivery Director, Assessment and Data, RM Education

  • Ben Gibbs, Director, Restart-Ed