Chris Skidmore – 2019 Statement on Education Technology Strategy

Below is the text of the statement made by Chris Skidmore, the Minister for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, in the House of Commons on 3 April 2019.

Education technology (EdTech) refers to the practice of using technology to support teaching and the effective day-to-day running of education institutions. Technology has become embedded throughout society and yet the use of technology in education is mixed. There is potential for technology to play a stronger role in helping to address some of the key challenges in education.

The Department for Education has developed an education technology strategy “Realising the potential of technology in Education: A strategy for education providers and the technology sector”. The strategy aims to support and enable the education sector in England to help develop and embed technology in a way that cuts workload, fosters efficiencies, removes barriers to education and ultimately drives improvements in education outcomes. It includes support to promote a vibrant EdTech business sector in the UK to provide proven, high-quality products that meet the needs of educators and fosters a pipeline of fresh ideas.

At the core of the strategy is an understanding that the use of technology does not provide a panacea, but when used well, it can be highly effective in helping to deliver improvements and tackle challenges throughout education. The strategy marks the development of a partnership between the education sector, the technology industry and the Government to drive further progress in the use of education technology for schools, further education, higher education and other providers and announces a new leadership group to take this forward.

The strategy makes clear how we intend to build upon existing good practice in the sector through launching a network of EdTech demonstrator schools and colleges across the country. The demonstrator schools and colleges will help showcase the possibilities for technology and will facilitate peer-to-peer learning about the good use of technology to help address challenges facing teachers, leaders and students, be this funding, teacher workloads, meeting the needs of pupils with special needs or more generally to help support teachers to deliver excellent teaching.

It also makes clear that Government will help address the barriers facing education providers and the technology industry, through:

Helping schools to secure the broadband and networking infrastructure they need through accelerating the roll-out of full fibre internet connectivity to schools and providing guidance.

Supporting the creation of opportunities for teachers and school leaders to improve their skills and knowledge about good use of technology through creating opportunities for peer-to-peer learning and through supporting partner organisations to provide free online CPD courses and free nationwide roadshows showcasing products, services and good practice.​
Improving support for procurement of technology, including exploring how to facilitate a better online marketplace for EdTech including through pre-negotiated buying deals, and supporting a digital service allowing schools to try products before they buy.

Helping education providers and the technology industry understand the privacy, security and data guidance and standards they should adhere to.

Helping the education technology industry to understand the full range of support available to them to help grow and scale their business through the Government’s industrial strategy.

Improving the digital services that the Department for Education itself provides.

The strategy also announces 10 challenges to educationists and the technology industry. These cover areas where we think there is real potential for technology to make a difference and where we are seeking to galvanise activity, promote innovation and to prove whether or not technology has the potential to deliver positive outcomes. This includes the use of technology in assessment, administration, learning throughout life, teaching practice and continuing professional development. We will deliver the challenges through research, competitions to promote innovation by industry and the development of test bed schools and colleges.

This strategy marks the start of creating a technology revolution in education in England. We know that delivering this vision will take time, but we are committed to working in partnership with education and industry to deliver this vision.

I will deposit a copy of the strategy in the Libraries of both Houses.