Andrew Goff, Director of ONVU Learning

The education secretary, Damian Hinds has challenged the education sector to launch an educational revolution in schools, colleges and universities. It is ethically, morally and commercially important to all our futures to do so. The UK faces a skills crisis due to a lack of investment into professional training and teacher development, and this is most apparent in further education (FE).

The UK has more than twice as many GCSE pupils per teacher as the European average, according to research comparing UK education to the rest of the continent. This is even worse in further education with the average amongst the EU member states standing at 12.9 pupils per teacher, while the UK has 26.1.

Hinds is right to highlight that UK institutions and tech partners need to develop solutions that help to improve teaching and learning, constantly evolving and innovating so that all stakeholders can achieve the highest possible standard. As a community, tech companies need to continuously deliver real opportunities for teachers, and tangible educational outcomes for students through action-based research and partnership with schools.  

Technology for technologies’ sake  

Hopefully Hinds’ comments will encourage FE institutions to work with tech partners to address real problems that education needs solving. On too many occasions “amazing new shiny technology” has been used for technologies’ sake and that has overshadowed what should be the real concentration of everyone’s efforts; supporting teachers to be the best teachers that they can be. 

Technology has the potential to revolutionise professional training and teaching styles. However, before signing contracts, hard questions have to be asked to justify the return on investment and show demonstrable improvements to student/teacher experiences. Whilst it is easy to look at the financial costs of technology, all too often other considerable aspects such as set-up time, teacher training time, adoption, scale, frequency of use and engagement are overlooked. 

Teacher Development is Key

In order to address the talent gap currently affecting the UK, ed-tech needs to support teacher development. Not only does professional development make it more likely for NQTs to stay in their roles, there is research to suggest that the quality of teaching a student receives makes a considerable difference to their outcomes; most notably from the Sutton Trust who suggest that for a student from a disadvantaged background this could be as much as a year’s worth of teaching.

A great example of this is Shavington Primary School (a partner of the Learning for Life Partnership) which has invested in “the Challenge” and installed 360o video systems in their teaching areas so that every lesson taught can be effortlessly captured for teacher review, reflection and coaching.


Dan Thomas, CEO of The Learning for Life Partnership who run Shavington Primary School, has been spear-heading the project:

“The focus of the initiative is all around the efficient use of technology to support teacher training and in the achievement of increased pupil outcomes. Shavington staff are determined and committed to improving their teaching effectiveness to focus on improving student outcomes. Having 360o video systems in place means that all normal teaching can be reviewed, and teacher effectiveness discussed in a collaborative manner with colleagues and external experts.” 

He continues, “The technology coupled with developing teaching practice is already driving positive change with all staff mindful that they can now easily look back at any of their lessons taught; there is no prior scheduling required, no setting up of equipment, no starting and stopping of recording and as a result, most importantly, the Hawthorne Effect is minimised and normalised teaching coached making the whole process worthwhile. On demand lesson observations are being trialled instead of in-class ones and rich constructive conversation fuelled by the exploration of 360o classroom video clips is taking place between colleagues on segments of lessons.”  

Ultimately, the UK’s educational establishments need to take Hinds’ comments as a driver to invest in retaining, recruiting and developing amazing teachers that fluently use all manner of EdTech and other tools to deliver the most effective quality learning experience for the young people in our classrooms. If we can’t address the skills gap facing UK students, we risk falling behind on the international stage as the next generation enters to workforce. 

Andrew Goff, Director of ONVU Learning

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Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

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Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

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We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

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Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

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FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

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We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

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FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.


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