John Jackson, CEO, edtech charity LGfL-The National Grid for Learning, has been honoured with a prestigious ERA Outstanding Achievement Award for accelerating the adoption of new technology in schools and his dedication to saving them money, keeping children safe, tackling inequality, energising teaching and learning and promoting wellbeing.

John, together with his brilliant team, spearheaded a series of major national initiatives during lockdown to accelerate digital transformation in schools including the DfE’s Edtech Demonstrator Programme and the creation of The Digital Transformation Network.  He also received praise for nurturing and scaling up ground-breaking British tech companies and for his work positioning the UK as a world leader in technology and innovation.

Appointed by the DfE, John – together with consortium partners The Education Foundation and Sheffield Institute of Education – headed up the national EdTech Demonstrator Programme. Set up during the pandemic to support and provide expertise to schools and colleges in England for both in-person and remote ‘cloud-based’ teaching and learning – the programme significantly accelerated the adoption of cloud technology from the industry.

The consortium identified a nationwide network of Demonstrator Schools and Colleges who were able to use technology effectively and had the capacity to help other schools and colleges to do the same. They facilitated the Demonstrators to share their experience and expertise with other schools and colleges, and support them with starting their own journey towards transforming and improving the way that teaching, learning and management took place.

He also led on the creation of The Digital Transformation Partnership Network of over 100 edtech suppliers and organisations who directly support schools, academies, trusts and other educational institutions, regarding the use of ICT. The partnership implemented cloud-based solutions that provided schools with access to resources on-demand if learning suddenly shifted from in-class to at-home.

LGfL’s Partnership Framework is focussed on helping schools harness technology, save money and keep children safe. LGfL recognises the fundamental role that third-party support organisations have in schools, and the need to work in partnership to ensure LGfL’s services are seamlessly and effectively integrated into the IT landscape for schools.

Digital Transformation Partners, to name but a few, include Turn IT On, Trusol, Camden LA Support, SIPS Education, The Education Space and Joskos.

John also received praise for nurturing innovation in British companies such as Just2easy (J2e) and Busy Things, by building their brand and rapidly scaling-up their business through the mass procurement of their products for its network of 3,500 schools. This helped them side step the cost of selling to thousands of individual schools and mitigate risk at a time of economic instability. Just2easy are the creators of an award winning software toolset designed for education including creativity tools, apps and games for maths, English, computing and cross curricular creative activities set within a completely personalised learning experience. Busy Things are the creators of fun educational games for kids featuring 1000+ curriculum-linked activities for 3-11 year olds.

These are just some of the forward thinking initiatives that helped John to position the UK as a worldwide leader in technology and innovation, ensuring that global tech companies remain invested in the UK.

Commenting on his award, John Jackson, said, “ This award is for all the teachers, children and technology partners that supported LGfL. Their trust enabled us to change lives for the better, save schools millions and do everything possible to make sure that children weren’t left behind. In the depths of COVID19 this collaboration brought out the very best in all of us. Together we made a difference and laid the foundations for the future of digital in education.”

The Education Resources Awards (ERA) – organised by Brilliant Marketing Solutions and the British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA) –  highlight the quality and diversity of educational products and resources, excellent educational establishments and the most dedicated members of the teaching profession and supplier industry, all working together to encourage the very best in education.