The Education Secretary Damian Hinds has challenged the tech industry to launch an ‘education revolution’ at schools, colleges and universities via a Government media release and an op ed piece in the Daily Telegraph.
The comments by Hinds along with the recent DfE toolkit for reducing teacher workload are both positive steps by the Government to start addressing this issue. Last year we surveyed almost 2500 UK teachers and senior leaders about workloads and found that record numbers of teachers were leaving the profession with excessive workload cited as the primary reason by almost half of those planning to leave.
Indeed, just 3% of teachers and 6% of senior leaders in schools believe they have a healthy work-life balance according to our survey.
Hinds also made a welcome admission that the Government must do better in their use of technology, writing in the Daily Telegraph:
“I recognise that in the past, Governments have been guilty of imposing unwanted technology on schools. Over a decade ago expensive interactive whiteboards were rolled out to schools, without the support of teachers, and we saw no subsequent rise in pupils’ attainment directly linked to that technology.”
We think this is very important, because there has often been a view that ‘education technology’ starts and ends with flashy gadgets as they are easy to distribute and easy to see in action. In reality, education technology is at it’s best when it solves an identifiable issue within a school and is bought in with a proper understanding of what an individual school actually needs to achieve.
Despite these issues around previous implementation, there are still a number of schools effectively using technology every day, including our customer Shireland Collegiate Academy whose Head Teacher Sir Mark Grundy was quoted in the DfE’s media release. Sir Mark is a school leader at the forefront of using technology, particularly data analytics, to improve teaching, learning and assessment, and also recently presented an informative presentation of data analytics for trusts at Groupcall’s MAT Analytics event in London.
There may be some cynical views of the timing of the DfE’s release over the summer break, as well as the apparent shifting of the responsibility to provide technology from government to private enterprise. With budgets only shrinking however, having an Education Secretary and Department seemingly taking this issue seriously is a very good step in the right direction (assuming they follow through!)
Of course, Groupcall have always been focused on technology that reduces teacher workload and ultimately improves the outcomes for all children. And we've been running our own education technology revolution for 17 years!