Caroline Wright, Director General, BESA

In his speech at the Academies Show today, Damian Hinds, Secretary of State for Education, announced the publication of the Department for Education’s EdTech strategy.

This document outlines the DfE’s plans to support schools in adopting new technologies to improve outcomes and reduce teacher workload.

BESA Director General, Caroline Wright, said:

“It is deeply worrying that in 2019 too many teachers are still apprehensive of using technology as a teaching aid. They may fear the humiliation of attempting to use digital devices in front of technologically tooled-up students because of an aging and antiquated school network infrastructure, or, most often in my experience, they simply don’t dare to go digital because they just don’t know where to start or who to ask for help.

"Today’s announcement by the Secretary of State for Education, Damian Hinds, is a welcome move to help schools’ better use technology to support teaching and learning outcomes.

"The DfE’s work partnering with key teaching and industry bodies to focus on practical school-led solutions, showcasing best-practice uses of technology in schools, and teacher tech training in peer-to-peer groups will help raise both the confidence and competence of the teaching workforce.

"In my role at BESA, I have the honour of working with hundreds of incredibly vibrant EdTech companies, both large and small, who are working to innovate and transform the digital education learning environment for pupils and young people across the UK and across the world. EdTech is a fast-growing sector and I have the pleasure of accompanying an ever increasing number of UK companies, more than 200 UK EdTech companies last year, at leading education events around the globe providing technology-led solutions to support schools and Ministries of Education internationally. It is therefore vital that our own Government supports the continued growth and development of this exciting future-focused industry.”

BESA has already been working alongside the DfE on the LearnED Roadshow, a series of free one-day CPD training events showcasing schools that are already using technology successfully, and offering peer-to-peer learning opportunities for school leaders and heads of ICT.

In addition, BESA recently launched LendED, a free online platform matching teachers with available technology that can be trialled for free as part of the procurement process.

Caroline Wright commented:

“I’m delighted that BESA is working with the DfE to provide the LendED online portal free to all schools. LendED is a new initiative aimed at providing teachers with the unique opportunity to trial EdTech products and services for free. Hundreds of products from quality-assured BESA companies who have signed up to an industry Code of Practice, developed in consultation with teachers, are available for teachers to trial on a free basis so that schools have the chance to try resources before they buy.”

About BESA, the British Educational Suppliers Association: The only trade association covering the entirety of the UK educational suppliers sector. It has an 85-year heritage serving the sector, and represents over 400 suppliers, including manufacturers and distributors of equipment, materials, books, consumables, furniture, technology, ICT hardware and digital-content related services to the education market. Combined, they generate approximately £2.2 billion of revenue each year.

BESA is dedicated to showcasing the world-leading educational products and services provided by British educational suppliers, and providing support and advice to its members, the industry and to schools looking for the best resources and services.

It founded the BETT show in 1985, the largest EdTech exhibition in the world, GESS Dubai (previously known as BES Dubai) in 2007 and the Education World Forum in 2011.

Working closely with the Department for Trade, BESA helps take over two hundred companies overseas every year to a wide range of important export markets, from the US to Malaysia and China, providing intelligence briefings, logistical support and often substantial bursaries.

BESA has a Code of Practice to which all members must adhere, along with a stringent membership process, both of which assure buyers of a high standard of quality in both product and customer service.

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