Nesta, the innovation foundation, and Department for Education have today announced a £4.6 million funding programme to involve schools, teachers and pupils in evaluating edtech products that have the potential to support educational outcomes and transform the way schools are run. The partnership was announced by Damian Hinds, Secretary of State for Education as part of the DfE’s major new Education Technology Strategy.

The strategy sets out 10 challenges where tech solutions could have real impact. Nesta will be working across four of the challenges outlined in the strategy:

  • Formative assessment
  • Essay marking
  • Parental engagement
  • Timetabling

The Nesta-run programme will focus on connecting schools and industry to test high-potential products to find out what tech works for them, marking a step change in the level of involvement schools have in the edtech industry. The programme will aim to ensure that technology meets the needs of teachers, lecturers, pupils and students, whilst stimulating the tech industry to support the development of more innovative products.

Involvement of educators will be prioritised in the testing and development of edtech products, creating high quality evidence in an environment which allows for comparison and teacher feedback. More detail on what the programme will look like and how to get involved will be published on Nesta’s website ( the coming weeks.

Joysy John, Director of Education, Nesta, says, “We are excited by the announcement of the long awaited EdTech strategy today by the Secretary of State for Education, Damian Hinds, and for our new partnership to address challenges in education. There is currently a huge amount of pressure on the education system, from excessive marking and time consuming admin tasks to teacher shortages. Technology has an important part to play in tackling these issues.

“Identifying the challenges where technology solutions could make the biggest difference is a first step. Focusing on four of these challenges, Nesta will bring together schools and the tech industry, building an evidence base and supporting the edtech products that really work. Schools and colleges will be involved every step of the way in product development and implementation. We believe this is a crucial step in creating a smarter system that benefits both teachers and students.”

Commenting on the new programme to be run by Nesta, Damian Hinds, Secretary of State for Education, said: “This partnership with Nesta will see both industry and government funding being used to support EdTech innovation in schools and colleges, in tackling challenges relating to essay marking, formative assessment, parental engagement and timetabling technology. Through this partnership we look forward to sharing new insights about the way industry must develop products to meet the needs of teachers and students.”


For more information contact Juliet Grant in Nesta’s press office on 020 7438 2668 or 07866 949047, [email protected]

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About Nesta

Nesta is the UK's innovation foundation. We help people and organisations bring great ideas to life. We do this by providing investments and grants and mobilising research, networks and skills. We are an independent charity and our work is enabled by an endowment from the National Lottery. Nesta is a registered charity in England and Wales 1144091 and Scotland SC042833. | @nesta_uk