The last few months have presented outstanding challenges to schools and colleges. We have seen schools and colleges adapt quickly to new ways of working whilst striving to ensure students continue to receive quality education in the most trying of circumstances. We at Nesta have been continually impressed by the resilience and innovation demonstrated by leaders, teachers, and support staff across the country.

For the EdTech Innovation Testbed Programme, in partnership with the Department for Education, the coronavirus outbreak meant postponing the trials planned to start in April 2020 and the following academic year. During this time, we have been busy talking to schools, colleges, and industry about the new challenges they are facing as a result of COVID-19, and what we could do to support them now and in the longer term. We know that the months ahead will continue to place new pressures on teachers and pupils, as vital ‘catch-up’ activity, blended learning and pupil wellbeing rightly become the priority of the next term.

For these reasons, we have made the difficult decision not to continue the EdTech Innovation Testbed as it was initially designed. Instead, we are launching the EdTech R&D Programme which will support schools, colleges and remote learning providers to develop innovative new ways to meet the needs of learners facing a variety of disadvantages, from socioeconomic to special educational needs. A series of evaluation and development sprints will test ways to improve products and how they are used, using direct feedback from platforms, teachers, students and parents.

Participating schools, colleges and platforms will receive financial support to cover staff and development costs along with specialist evaluation support and professional development. Find out more or contact us at [email protected]