A North East-based EdTech company leading the way in 21st-century learning has been officially presented with the UK’s most prestigious business award.
SoundbiteLearning UK Ltd – the company behind the multi-award-winning GCSEPod digital content and revision platform – was formally presented with the Queen’s Award for Enterprise 2021 by the Lord-Lieutenant of Tyne and Wear, Mrs Susan Winfield, at a special ceremony held at the firm’s headquarters in Newcastle.
The company, founded in 2006 by North East entrepreneurs Anthony Coxon and Ian Thompson, has been honoured in the International Trade category, recognising GCSEPod’s success on the global education stage over several years and especially during the ongoing Covid pandemic.
Since 2018 SoundbiteLearning, which was recently acquired by leading business solutions and software provider The Access Group, has seen the uptake of its international GCSEPod subscriptions double year-on-year.
The EdTech platform is used by more than 1,600 schools in 39 countries from The Bahamas to Zambia, Bahrain to Uzbekistan and nearer home, Aldershot to York.
The international estate now accounts for over 10% of GCSEPod’s subscribing schools.
The company was one of 205 winners of this year’s Queen’s Awards for Enterprise, given for outstanding achievement in not just the international trade category, but innovation, sustainable development and promoting opportunity through social mobility.
Anthony Coxon said the award had come as “a great surprise but an incredible honour for the whole team. The fact there were only 205 winners across the country in all categories shows just how special SoundbiteLearning is.
“Ian and I are incredibly proud that the company we launched in 2006, underpinned by the idea there has to be a better way for young people to learn in an audiovisual way, has won such a globally recognised honour that is effectively a royal seal of approval for UK businesses.
“But winning the award isn’t just down to Ian and me. It is a testament to the hard work and diligence shown by every member of the company over a long period of time, and is a fantastic boost to everyone as we continue efforts to ensure that students both in the UK and internationally have the chance to unlock their academic potential.”
GCSEPod covers 28-plus GCSE and IGCSE subjects and is designed to make it easier for teenagers to learn and revise for their Key Stage 4 exams on or off-line on any smart device.
The subscription platform is renowned for its highly concentrated three-to-five minute bursts of audio-visual, teacher-written and professionally narrated learning – known as Pods – as well as its ready-made and exam-style assignments and unique Check and Challenge assessment system.
The tailored resources help students preparing for their exams consolidate subject knowledge, accelerate progress as well as reduce workload for teachers.
On average, pupils who regularly use GCSEPod achieve 0.7 more Progress 8 points than non-users.
GCSEPod, which is constantly evolving to meet current educational demands, has played a central role in helping learning continue throughout the Covid pandemic, providing access to more than one million students globally.
Presenting the Queen’s Award for Enterprise: International Trade to Anthony Coxon and Ian Thompson, Mrs Winfield said: “Having heard the history of the company in the last few minutes, it is very, very impressive. This is truly a very well-deserved award. I am just so pleased that there are companies in this part of the world who achieve things because the North East is a great place and we want to ensure that good companies like this get recognised in such a distinguished way.”
The awards are difficult to achieve. Companies have to show at least three years of continued and unbroken export growth. GCSEPod has expanded its international profile significantly in the last decade and is a member of both the Council of British International Schools (COBIS) and British Schools in the Middle East (BSME).