The Department for Education (DfE) commissioned Frontier Economics to analyse the education technology (EdTech) market in England. The study aimed to support DfE in making informed policy choices regarding the development of the market as part of their EdTech Strategy.
The EdTech market includes the provision of digital and digitally enabled products and services to support the day-to-day management of primary and secondary schools, teaching planning, parent engagement and the learning experience of pupils. We classified the Edtech market in seven segments: class aid and educator support, digital learning product or content, hardware and devices, resources for parents or pupils, school management, special educational needs and disability (SEND) resources and pastoral services.
We applied a mixed-methods approach which included stakeholder interviews with experts in the market, in-depth interviews with representatives from 30 primary and secondary schools, and an analysis of the size and composition of the market through an innovative approach to data collection: an artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm that reads millions of web pages using proprietary language to identify companies in the market.
The EdTech market is a small component of the digital and education sectors
- We identified more than 1,000 companies active in the EdTech market in England. The vast majority of these companies are relatively young, small or medium and are located in London and the South East.
- We estimated that there are more than 40,000 employees supplying EdTech products and services in England. Around 65% of these employees worked for large companies.
- In line with other sources, we also estimated that EdTech businesses in England generated up to £4.0 billion in GVA in 2021.
- Around four in ten EdTech companies provide resources for parents and pupils and employ a quarter of the workforce. However, almost half of the companies are active in more than one segment.
The variety of Edtech products and services creates opportunities for innovation, but also challenges for schools
- In the last two years, more schools have increased and further embedded EdTech into their day-to-day activities and to refine their existing processes to select, use and implement products and services.
- Differences in EdTech use across schools are driven by senior leaders’ views and understanding of the potential benefits for staff, learners and parents. Ensuring the products and services met budget requirements was also a main factor.
- Most schools interviewed used EdTech products and services to provide benefits on a whole-school basis, regardless of curriculum area or year. This includes school management and administration tools, support for teaching and learning platforms such as virtual learning environments, and pastoral support services.
- A small number of schools interviewed continued to be cautious about using EdTech, particularly for use in the classroom.
- Many schools felt they could be better informed about the EdTech products and services available and their benefits.
- School representatives and experts identified some areas where products could be further improved to increase take up: (1) interoperability of administrative and monitoring systems across multiple platforms and functions, (2) improving assessment tools and qualitative analysis, (3) flexibility of high-tech products to be used in remote and home learning, (4) integrating EdTech to support SEND learners, and (5) building in safeguarding, data protection and cyber security into EdTech offers.
- A key implementation challenge was ensuring that all staff were confident to use new EdTech effectively.
To find out more about the research you can download the full report from the Government website here.
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