Education Secretary Damian Hinds spoke this year at the Schools and Academies Show 2019 to outline the DfE’s EdTech strategy. First and foremost, he spoke on school independence, and his reluctance to issue an EdTech diktat to schools.
“I know many of you here – and the clue is in the name – are from academies, where autonomy is at the heart of what you do.”
His speech focused on ways that the DfE can provide optional support to schools. At the core of this, he spoke about the importance of digital solutions, and the great efficiencies and economies in time these can provide. While it can sometimes feel as though the DfE has a pre-planned hoop-jumping agenda for schools to follow, this shows the Education Secretary’s true intention for EdTech — to provide academies with the tools they may need to operate free of government mandate.
He spoke of schoolteachers’ difficulty, and perhaps even reluctance, to adopt new education technologies. In particular, he focused on the issue of recruitment, stating that “… [Advertising] gobbles up chunks of precious budgets.” It’s interesting to see the government highlight this as an issue and to recommend schools seek digital alternatives.
Of particular note is Hinds’ focus on school recruitment: “… the school sector could save around £75m per year on teacher recruitment.” It’s difficult to argue with this point, especially when the solution can be so easy to implement. For instance, PS People software offers the opportunity to coordinate your HR resource alongside your finances, saving you time and money over traditional methods. You can also automate mission-critical HR tasks, manage recruitment, automatically post job listings to your school website, manage applications, and assess your staff’s existing skillsets across the trust. That’s a lot of potential time and cost savings that could be tapped into.
In fact, technological efficiencies can be implemented at every level across the school, from the classroom to SMT and support staff. “I don’t want our sector to be left behind and we owe it to all our young people to grasp that technology nettle… I want all teachers and school leaders to have the chance to develop and improve their skills and confidence.” There already exist a plethora of ways to introduce technologies to your staff. For example, IRIS Education Summer User Days offer staff using IRIS software the opportunity to learn, interact and feedback on their software suite, putting their technological fears and difficulties to rest and helping to shape the future development of software in education.
The proverbial nettle doesn’t have to be painful any more.
Importantly, he briefly touched on the subject of school funding, although in a roundabout way: “Now I do know it’s really challenging to balance your books, especially when costs are going up.” Central to Damian Hinds’ philosophy in this speech is the need to leverage efficiencies using technology. In a similar vein, there are also technological solutions to school budgeting. For example, PS Financials’ unified ledger means that there isn’t any need to balance your books – it’s already done for you.
Perhaps the greatest takeaway from this speech is the DfE’s increasingly positive attitude towards education technologies. “… it marks the start of an important conversation about the place for technology in education. I want our world-class education sector to be at the forefront of this conversation – and to be shaping how innovation can help schools drive efficiencies.”
If you want to join the EdTech revolution and drive new efficiencies at your school, get in touch. https://psfinancials.com/contact/