Education technology organisations receive funding to tackle teacher workload

Nesta, the innovation foundation, and the Department for Education have today announced the EdTech organisations that will receive up to £100,000 each to develop and scale their ideas in order to reduce teacher workload. From supporting teachers with automated marking to introducing new ways to meaningfully engage parents, the organisations have been selected for their innovative use of technology to overcome some of the biggest challenges facing schools and colleges.

The EdTech Innovation Fund will support grantees, from technology startups to a college to established Edech experts, to develop their products, grow their evidence base of what works, and reach more schools and colleges. The organisations will be given financial support for up to 18 months and have access to non-financial support relevant to their individual needs provided by Nesta. This could range from help with evaluation techniques to business development or communications.

The fund, open for applications since April, set out to find the EdTech products that could make the most difference to teachers and students through focusing on one of four challenge areas:

  1. Formative assessment
  2. Essay marking
  3. Timetabling
  4. Parental engagement

For many people working in education, technology has not always lived up to its promise of reduced administration, time savings and new opportunities that we've seen in so many other sectors. Instead, a disconnect between the experience of teachers and learners, and the potential of technology has in some cases created new pressures and problems. 

The EdTech Innovation Fund is part of a £4.6 million funding programme that aims to change this. The programme will stimulate industry innovation, support the development of EdTech products, and involve schools and colleges in building the evidence base to ensure that technology lives up to its promise in a real world setting. 

Alongside the fund, Nesta has launched England’s first EdTech Innovation Testbed. The Testbed is a new programme, currently open for applications, which allows schools and colleges to trial promising technology products that are suited to their needs for free. They are also offered hands-on support from evaluation experts to understand what works and generate actionable insights for schools, colleges and EdTech organisations.

Joysy John, Director of Education, Nesta, says,

‘To be truly transformational, education technology needs to achieve tangible impact for teachers and students, be informed by robust evidence and be easy to implement. Nesta will work with grantees to develop their ideas and share learnings across the sector so that technology can better meet the changing, and challenging, needs of the education system. We believe these products have huge potential to free up teacher time so they can spend it doing what they do best, inspiring students.”


Edtech Innovation Testbed Grantees

  • First Pass, Bolton College - an online service that enables teachers to post open-ended questions to students. The service then analyses the free form text responses that are entered by students and offers real-time feedback. 
  • Educake - an online formative assessment platform which provides questions mapped to the curriculum, automatically-marked homework and revision tests for GCSE English, maths, science and geography.
  • Skills Builder Hub, Enabling Enterprise - an online tool that hosts a suite of resources to support the development of key employability skills. After completing an activity with their class, teachers complete a quick assessment of the whole class' skills and are presented with suggestions for resources to use next. 
  • Freeflowinfo, Engagement in Education Ltd - a parental engagement tool which allows pupils to upload photos and videos showing examples of their learning, which are shared with parents.
  • Firefly Learning - a parental engagement tool which allows parents to access information about their child’s progress, attendance and behaviour.
  • HegartyMaths - an online formative assessment platform which provides students with adaptive math assessments. Teachers are given a breakdown of student’s results and effort for each assignment.
  • Formative Assessment for SEND Students in Maths, Mangahigh - a KS1-4 maths platform providing gamified questions and quizzes for students. Teachers use Mangahigh in class and for homework.
  • No More Marking - an online platform that enables schools to use comparative judgement to assess student's written work.
  • Time Tabler, October Resolutions - a timetabling software used by schools to develop and adapt their timetables.
  • Pobble - an online platform that supports the teaching of writing in English classes, currently in primary schools. Pobble stores, publishes and shares examples of children’s handwritten work, and has a bank of resources for teachers and students.
  • Seneca Smart Homework & Diagnostics, Seneca Learning - a homework and revision platform covering 95%+ of the exams taken in the mainstream UK education system for KS2, KS3, GCSE and A-level curriculum.
  • Studybugs Parent Time, Studybugs - a parental engagement platform. Funding will be used to accelerate development, specifically a video-conferencing feature for parents to book a 5 minute video call with teachers, and engage more fully with schools and parents.
  • WriQ, Texthelp Ltd - provides automated marking of student writing, assessing spelling, grammar and punctuation to provide an accuracy score, with teachers able to give individualised feedback.

You may also be interested in these articles:

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Newsroom Activity

Kerry Boffey added a new event 3 hours

Self-Assessment, validating your provision.

Join Peter Stacey for this informative and engaging session, Self -assessment, the process the accuracy of judgement, clear validation through to...

  • Friday, 11 September 2020 10:30 AM
  • On-line. Longdon on Tern

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

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.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

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.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

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:

Main Features

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.

FE Voices

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.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.


We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

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.

Education Video Interviews

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.


FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page