North East Connected

Showstopper LGfL-The National Grid for Learning scoops three ERA Awards and more

LGfL honoured with ‘ERA Outstanding Achievement’, ‘Supplier of the Year’ and ‘Best Free Resources Award’, as well as ‘Highly Commended’ judgement in the Primary Resources Award category


Showstopper – edtech charity LGfL-The National Grid for Learning –  scooped not one, not two, but three awards, as well as a ‘Highly Commended’ judgement – at this year’s ERA 2022 Gala Dinner.  These included:

ERA Outstanding Achievement Award

John Jackson, CEO, LGfL-The National Grid for Learning, was honoured with an ERA Outstanding Achievement Award for spearheading – together with his brilliant team – a series of major national initiatives during lockdown, to accelerate digital transformation in schools.

These included the DfE’s 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; and the creation of The Digital Transformation Network comprising over 100 edtech suppliers and organisations who directly support schools, academies, trusts and other educational institutions, regarding the use of ICT. 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.


ERA 2022 Supplier of the Year Award

For the third time running, LGfL was once again honoured with an ERA 2022 Supplier of the Year Award as one of the fastest growing edtech companies in the UK, whose mission is the advancement of education.  Growth was accelerated by listening to schools and enabling them to meet the challenges of cloud transition and blended learning during the global pandemic. In addition to the aforementioned initiatives referenced in the Outstanding Achievement Award, it also included LGfL’s #BridgeTheDivide Campaign focussed on the provision of low-cost laptops for schools; the creation of HomeProtect, an entirely new web filtering platform for home use; the National Grid for Learning’s expansion of its broadband network for schools; and its #Pledge 2020 drive to upgrade 2500 schools to a minimum of 100Mbps on fibre supported by a massive increase in free CPD.

LGfL was praised by the Judges for its ‘long history of outstanding service to schools in deprived areas’ and its ‘wide range of digital resources commended highly by those it supports’. They commented that, ‘Judges could clearly see the impact of LGfL’s support during Covid 19 and noted that their customers speak highly about the impact of the devices supplied’.

“As a dynamic organisation, LGfL is always looking for new, creative, and innovative ways to enhance and expand its service for schools, and to help them improve outcomes for children and young people,” said John Jackson. “We reinvest back into education and do not profit from schools.”

ERA Free Educational Resources Award

LGfL was also honoured with a Free Educational Resources Award for its LGfL Bereavement Toolkit (, now featuring a new section entitled ‘Having honest conversations about grief and death’.

This unique resource, created in partnership with its fellow charity Child Bereavement UK (CBUK), comprises a comprehensive mix of practical advice, guidance and activities to help schools through times that can be traumatic and unsettling for the whole community. Even though it is estimated that around 1 in 29 school aged children will have experienced the death of at least one parent, it has taken the Covid-19 pandemic to really bring the challenges of dealing with bereavement to the forefront in our schools.

ERA’s Judges described The Child Bereavement Toolkit as ‘an amazing, sensitive resource which helps staff in schools, learners, parents and guardians, to support one another through the bereavement process’. They praised it as ‘a really important bereavement resource for supporting the community, from a trusted quality assured source’.

LGfL Content Manager, Bob Usher, commented, “Our two previous collaborations have delivered focussed, specialist support for educational professionals working with young people. We have now created a ‘toolkit’ combining all three, to provide teachers with access to highly relevant and empowering support for tackling difficult subjects relating to young people and bereavement. We have heard countless examples of how the existing resources proved to be invaluable within school communities, many of which are managing the impact of death and grief daily. We aim to support the whole school community and working with Child Bereavement UK continues to result in high quality, specialist and easily accessible advice portals for schools and the communities they serve.”

Primary Resource-ICT Award – Highly Commended

LGfL was also ‘Highly Commended’ in the Primary Resource-ICT Award category – for Picoh, an innovative programmable robotic head that children can use to develop an understanding of computing through creating programs that solve problems and express ideas. It is a development of the award-winning Ohbot, using similar principles but made more cost effective, at just £99.50 (ex VAT) per unit.

The robot is 10cm tall, with motors to turn and tilt its head, and a 144 LED matrix display giving it expressive eyes with independently controlled pupils and eyelids. It has a motorised mouth that can open, smile and frown.

Picoh is programmed using either graphical block programming through its own bespoke Windows App, or Scratch, or by using text coding in Python. A computing scheme of work is provided, although it can be used for a host of cross-curricular learning/activities. The initial simplicity of its operation enables inclusion and encourages creativity, alongside complex, high level tasks. The Windows app features additional tools to program for speech recognition and deducing meaning from speech.

Commenting on LGfL’s award wins, CEO, John Jackson, LGfL-The National Grid for Learning, said, “LGfL is positioning itself firmly at the forefront of innovation and world class delivery to schools and education. These awards are the result of a fantastic team effort spanning the Trustees, LGfL officers, schools, councils, industry leaders, as well as key suppliers ranging from global giants such as Google, key partners (including Virgin Media, O2 and Adept Education) alongside small UK SMEs such as BusyThings, J2e and Ohbot Ltd.

“We pride ourselves on making a real difference to the millions of children and thousands of schools we now support day to day via the National Grid for Learning.”

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