Westminster Education Forum

We are continuing to organise full-scale virtual conferences which retain all the features of physical seminars, including full programmes, presentations with slides, panel discussions and live delegate questions and comments sessions, person-to-person and group networking, and a permanent record provided to all delegates afterwards. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time, so there are plenty of opportunities to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are.
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The future for EdTech in England - standards, quality and accessibility, the experience of lockdown, and next steps for the EdTech Strategy

March 2021

Price: £95 PLUS VAT

***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***
This conference focuses on the next steps and future for the use of EdTech in England.

We expect a key theme to be the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a reported 130% rise in the use of EdTech during the crisis.

It takes place with the expected opening of schools and colleges on March 8th, following the Government’s recently announced roadmap to ease lockdown restrictions in England.

The discussion is bringing together stakeholders with a range of key policy officials who are due to attend from DfE, as well as from the Department for the Economy NI, the Geospatial Commission and the UK Space Agency.

The agenda:

  • The EdTech Strategy - priorities going forward post-pandemic
  • The EdTech sector today - and prospects for the future
  • EdTech and COVID-19 - educational attainment, student engagement, best practice and lessons learned so far, and looking ahead to the role of remote learning post-pandemic
  • What works in EdTech - building an evidence base, school-to-school support for EdTech, and next steps for driving up standards
  • A perspective on the use of EdTech internationally
  • Ensuring EdTech works for all - accessibility, levelling up, and supporting a rounded education
    • Making EdTech work for students with SEND
    • Strategies for bridging the digital divide
    • Delivering social and emotional learning in a virtual setting

Key areas for discussion:

  • EdTech during the pandemic - what has been learned, implications for the EdTech Strategy, and possible future ways to integrate remote learning in England’s schools post-pandemic
  • safety - ensuring that future classroom use of EdTech takes into account risks, and safeguards students spending increased time online, in the context of the Online Harms White Paper
  • quality of education:
    • ways to measure standards, build up an evidence-base of what works in EdTech, and to improve
    • discussing the Ofsted review of online education in the 2020 summer term and the recent What's working well in remote education guidance for schools from Ofsted
  • spreading best practice:
    • the role of the wider school system and school-to-school support in driving up standards in the use of EdTech
    • the EdTech demonstrator schools and colleges programme - its impact and what has been learned so far, with the programme re-focused on the response to COVID-19 soon after its launch
  • a case study from France - looking at OpenClassrooms, an online learning platform characterised by hands-on projects, one-on-one mentorship, and guaranteed employment for graduates
  • improving remote learning - strategies and best practice for addressing the challenges it poses, and learning from benefits experienced by students studying in the home environment:
    • the digital divide - addressing the impact of digital poverty on educational attainment amongst disadvantaged students, including assessing recent government support programmes
    • assistive technologies - options for increasing support for its use by students with SEND, and for its integration within the classroom
    • social and emotional learning (SEL) - the way forward for ensuring that future integration of remote learning takes a holistic view of students’ wider needs

The background - recent policy developments at a glance:

  • Realising the potential of technology in education: A strategy for education providers and the technology industry - the Government’s EdTech Strategy, with aims for:
    • skills - help for teaching staff through online training, school-to-school support and dissemination of EdTech research
    • workload - reducing the burden on teachers by cutting time spent on non-teaching tasks, and facilitating part-time and flexible working
    • assessment - streamlining processes, and tackling cheating and plagiarism through anti-cheating software
    • digital safety - providing schools and other providers with the necessary guidance to effectively navigate responsibilities around privacy, security and data
  • teaching standards:
    • Ofsted inspections to be done remotely - due to increases in the spread of COVID-19, monitoring schools judged to be inadequate at their previous inspection and some graded as requiring improvement, with a focus on assessing the quality of remote education
    • a recent Ofsted research report on remote education - finding that:
      • three-fifths of surveyed teachers felt confident in providing remote education to a high standard
      • however, keeping children motivated and engaged with remote study remained a considerable challenge for both teachers and parents, especially with regard to children with SEND
    • Ofsted to review students’ and apprentices’ online further education experience - focusing on what can be learned from online education delivery during this term and the 2020 summer term
  • Vision 2025 - the review led by the EdTech Advisory Forum, looking at the EdTech sector’s response to the pandemic and the current state of the sector, as well as its future deployment
  • the Future Tech Trade Strategy - recently announced by government and aimed at supporting the growth and expansion of the UK tech sector, and encouraging investment
  • assistive technology - DfE’s trials announced last year, seeking to assess and inform best practice in the use of assistive technology for pupils with SEND
  • the digital divide:
    • Schools' responses to Covid-19: pupil engagement in remote learning - recent NFER findings of lowest student engagement amongst those with limited access to IT or study space
    • Learning during the lockdown: real-time data on children’s experiences during home learning - IFS research showing challenges, particularly amongst those from least well-off families
    • Get laptops and tablets for children who cannot attend school due to coronavirus - government guidance for schools, colleges, academy trusts and local authorities
  • The Online Harms White Paper - laying out next steps for improving online safety in the UK

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders. Places have been reserved by a range of officials from the Department for Education; the UK Space Agency; the Geospatial Commission; and the Department for the Economy, NI.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording and transcript to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

This pack includes

  • Dropbox video recording of the conference
  • PDF transcript of the discussion, including all speaker remarks and Q&A
  • PDFs of speakers' slide material (subject to permission)
  • PDFs of the delegate pack, including speaker biographies and attendee list
  • PDFs of delegate articles