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.

Earlier this year, we launched the EdTech Innovation Fund, part of a £4.6m partnership with the Department for Education. The EdTech Innovation Fund aims to support schools and colleges to make more effective use of technology and develop more robust evidence about what works.

We’re supporting grantees to improve their EdTech products, carry out research to find out more about how teachers use their tools and the impact they have, and grow their reach to more schools and colleges in England. Projects are being delivered until 31 March 2021, and grantees are working to support schools across four challenge areas:

  • Formative Assessment
  • Essay Marking
  • Parental Engagement
  • Timetabling.

We’re excited to be funding innovative EdTech products which support schools and teachers in a range of ways, from technology to support assessment and provide high-quality feedback, to products which transform the way schools engage with parents and enable more teachers to work flexibly.

The EdTech Innovation Fund grantees

Bolton College First Pass

Awarded £100,000

First Pass is an online service that enables teachers to post open-ended questions to students. First Pass analyses the free form text responses that are entered by students and offers real-time feedback.

Funding will support the further development of First Pass' teacher-facing and student-facing services and support the testing and evaluation of First Pass with students and disseminate the findings.

Educake Ltd

Awarded £89,600

Educake is an established online formative assessment platform which provides questions mapped to the curriculum, automatically-marked homework and revision tests for GCSE English, maths, science and geography.

Funding will support Educake to develop questions and content for GCSE computer science and history.

Enabling Enterprise CIC Skills Builder

Awarded £99,765

Skills Builder Hub is an online tool that hosts a suite of resources to support the development of key employability skills. After completing an activity with their class, teachers complete a quick assessment of the whole class' skills and are presented with suggestions for resources to use next.

Funding will support improvements to the user experience and an evaluation of the impact of Skills Builder.

Engagement in Education Ltd freeflowinfo

Awarded £99,400

freeflowinfo is a parental engagement platform that enables all parents, regardless of their background, to establish and maintain positive attitudes towards learning in the home regardless of the age of the pupil, and reduces teacher workload.

Funding will support freeflowinfo to undertake research in secondary schools and develop online teacher training resources to support workload reduction.

Firefly Learning Ltd

Awarded £100,000

Firefly is a teaching and learning tool which allows parents to access information about their child’s progress, attendance and behaviour.

Funding will support Firefly to build a new profile for each learner and to establish a more systematic research programme to establish the benefits of their current platform and future developments. Firefly will develop and market a lower-cost edition of the product to more state secondary schools in England.


Awarded £100,000

HegartyMaths is an online formative assessment platform which provides students with adaptive maths assessments. Teachers are given a breakdown of students’ results and effort for each assignment.

Funding will support Hegarty to grow its in-house training team and develop and evaluate a new training tool.


Awarded £100,000

MangaHigh is a KS1-4 maths platform providing gamified questions and quizzes for students. Teachers use Mangahigh in class and for homework.

Funding will be used to adapt the platform to make it suitable for SEND students and improve the accessibility of the questions and games, such as introducing text to speech functionality.

No More Marking Ltd

Awarded £63,768

No More Marking is an online platform that enables schools to use comparative judgement to assess student's written work.

Funding will be used to run a research project to validate comparative judgement as a method of marking. This will be done by comparing decisions made by teachers using current primary assessment writing frameworks to decisions already collected by No More Marking.

October Resolutions Ltd TimeTabler

Awarded £38,975

TimeTabler is an established timetabling software used by schools internationally to develop and adapt their timetables.

Funding will be used to pilot and test the flexible working features (e.g. part-time workers) and gain feedback with 20 schools in England. The findings will be disseminated in the sector.


Awarded £100,000

Pobble is an online platform that supports the teaching of writing in English classes, currently in primary schools. Pobble stores, publishes and shares examples of children’s handwritten work, and has a bank of resources for teachers and students.

Funding will improve Pobble's individual pupil functionality, including supporting self and peer-assessment, allowing pupils to access lessons outside the classroom and enabling pupils to publish their own work.

Seneca Learning

Awarded £100,000

Seneca is a homework and revision platform covering 95%+ of the exams taken in the mainstream UK education system for KS2, KS3, GCSE and A-level curriculum.

Funding will support the development of new diagnostic questions and a Multiple Choice Knowledge Assessments feature. It will support the development of the software to provide enhanced analytics for teachers, as well as develop and test the creation of a free 'Smart Homework' feature teachers.


Awarded £100,000

Studybugs is a communications platform used by schools to engage parents. Funding will be used to accelerate development and enable parents, particularly those that are otherwise hard to reach, to engage more fully with teachers. Studybugs will gather and analyse evidence of their impact in schools.

Texthelp Ltd WriQ

Awarded £87,000

WriQ provides automated marking of student writing, assessing spelling, grammar and punctuation to provide an accuracy score, with teachers able to give individualised feedback.

Funding will support developments to improve links with the English curriculum and improve efficacy of WriQ in English pilot schools, and improve the Teacher UI Design through engaging with a teacher advisory board and gathering feedback.

University of Oxford/University of Wollongong Early Years Toolbox Numbers App

Awarded £99,832

EYT /Numbers App provides short, game-like assessments of children’s numeracy skills in under five minutes, giving teachers information on the child’s profile and progress.

Funding will be used to implement and evaluate the use of EYT Numbers by early primary school teachers and to develop a resource for educators to aggregate data for their class/school, giving them a further layer of analysis beyond individual child data.

Edval Education Ltd

Awarded £100,000

Edval is a timetabling tool which generates optimised timetabling solutions to support flexible working and reduce teacher workload.

Funding will support Edval to develop the flexible working algorithms in its timetabling tool and support schools to provide more flexible working opportunities for their teachers.