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Revolutionising education: Three trends shaping the ed-tech market

Victoria Gustavsson, Analyst at ECI Partners

There is a significant opportunity for educators and trainers to leverage technology to provide better quality of teaching, care and support for students. The ed-tech market has expanded considerably in response to this demand. What trends are driving that growth, and what questions are being asked about how tech-enabled learning can be done in a safe and secure way?


Equal access should be at the core of any educational system. Therefore, as technology becomes increasingly integrated into classrooms, there is a growing focus on ensuring that all students have access to the benefits it can provide. The foundation of the ed-tech ecosystem is good provision of devices and improved connectivity in schools.  

While the UK Government has actively driven forward initiatives to improve the connectivity in schools, its efforts have been limited when it comes to more detailed advice on device strategy. This leaves space for companies, who have the operational capacity and know-how, to partner with schools and multi-academy trusts (MATs) to address this issue. This will allow schools to focus on getting the teachers the content and training they need to teach in a modern, tech-centred classroom.

COVID-19 really emphasised the consequences of inequal access to technology, and the dangers of the resulting attainment gap. To avoid the long-term impact if this issue, it is essential that schools, the Government and private companies work together to implement a more structured approach to device provision, to allow all children to benefit equally from the digital revolution.

Cyber security

As with many sectors currently undergoing a digital transformation, the education sector is becoming increasingly conscious of the security risks involved with moving teaching online. The sensitivity of personal data in schools is heightened due to having data on minors, including behavioural records and health records.

Creating an environment where everyone has access to connected devices is difficult enough, but ensuring that this environment is safe and secure is another thing all together. The danger is not theoretical either, with three quarters of schools experiencing at least one cyber-attack last year and 7% reporting significant disruption as a result.

There is therefore now a growing segment of the ed-tech market that focuses on helping schools increase the security of their digital systems. Secure Schools, for instance, is a company which helps provide tools and training, phishing simulators and a cyber security incident management plan to educational institutions.

Other growth areas include privacy by design within software, cybersecurity qualification provision and incident detection and response.

Mental health and wellbeing

Student-run Nightline saw a 51% increase in calls in 2020-21 and that grew an estimated 30% for 2021-22. Social media has been a long-term driver of the growing mental health problem in younger generation, with the cost-of-living crisis and the pandemic all having an additional negative impact. Therefore, as technology comes in classrooms, understanding, and mitigating its impact on the mental health of students is essential.

Digital tools can offer a much more effective way of identifying and tracking issues before they become a problem.  There are many companies supporting schools in this area. For example, ECI Partners’ former investment CPOMS is a company committed to ensuring that children and young people are safe and supported online by monitoring safeguarding, wellbeing, and pastoral issues.

As schools rapidly try to get up to speed with new technological advancements, there will be several opportunities for companies to provide support, equipment or services to help create a safe, and accessible learning environment. We should expect to see significant growth in the areas outlined above, as educational institutions prioritise equal and safe  access to technology, and the impact of technology on student wellbeing.

Investment in these areas should empower schools. Not only will tech-enabled classrooms provide students with a richer, and more dynamic, learning experience, but they will enable teachers to spend more time focussing on the students they teach.

By Victoria Gustavsson, Analyst at ECI Partners

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