EdTech and the view from schools: Research update

22 June 2018

The challenges faced by EdTech companies are significant, but one of the most persistent is the speed in which schools adopt and embed new technology.


10:30am - 12pm


Hamilton House
Mabledon Place
WC1H 9BD View Map



The challenges faced by EdTech companies are significant, but one of the most persistent is the speed in which schools adopt and embed new technology.



Ever since the first BBC Micros and modems entered schools, the pace at which you could really say that implementation had become embedded into the life of the school was slow. Has this now changed?

This seminar takes place during London EdTech Week and will highlight findings from BESA’s recent EdTech research with the National Education Research Panel (nerp). Those with responsibility for the provision and use of EdTech in schools have been consulted and Richard Connor will present highlights. We will then challenge our panel of EdTech company directors and our invited audience to add further insights from their own experiences while providing a roadmap for others to follow.


Richard Connor Managing Partner & Head of Research, C3 Education | NERP

Richard has been conducting market research exclusively in the schools’ sector for over 25 years, beginning his path at BESA then founding C3 Education in 1996. To enable robust and representative data on the UK marketplace, the National Education Research Panel (NERP) was founded in 2005. Most recently, the International Education Research Panel (IERP) has been launched in association with ISC Research to cover English-medium international schools.

Dr Kristen Weatherby Researcher, UCL Institute of Education

Dr Weatherby is currently a researcher at the IoE Knowledge Lab studying technology integration into teaching and learning. Prior to this, she worked at the OECD, where she was responsible for leading the development and implementation of their survey of over 104,000 teachers in 34 countries (TALIS) through its 2013 cycle. She began her career as a classroom teacher in the United States before moving to Microsoft, where she spent over a decade managing components of their worldwide education initiative Partners in Learning in the US and the United Kingdom. She is a governor at a local primary school and a trustee of a charity providing music education. Dr. Weatherby holds a PhD in Education from the UCL Institute of Education and a Masters in Education from the University of Michigan.

Dirk Foch, Managing Director, Renaissance UK

Dirk Foch has worked in EdTech since 1999, first setting up the European division of AlphaSmart and developing its EMEA business. AlphaSmart’s US parent went public in 2004 and was acquired in 2005 by Renaissance Learning after which he was asked to merge the two UK-based subsidiaries and to manage Renaissance UK. Dirk is responsible for the UK business’s day-to-day management and strategic direction and is part of US parent company Renaissance’s Senior Leadership Team. Renaissance’s flagship product Accelerated Reader has grown to reach over 1.4m children daily in almost 6,000 UK schools in the British Isles.

Stuart Abrahams Managing Director, 2Simple

Stuart has over 25 years’ experience of technology in the education sector. His role as Managing Director of 2Simple is a culmination of a wealth of experience supplying the education sector including eight years as head of schools at Viglen, over five years as sales and marketing director at Pearson Education followed by 10 years as commercial director at Groupcall. Before starting at 2Simple, Stuart spent 6 months with a DfE approved IT framework provider looking at how schools intelligently procure ICT and their readiness to embrace Cloud-Based Services. Stuart’s expertise includes SaaS (Software as a Service), cloud computing, data systems, GDPR, Procurement, Parental engagement technologies, education management systems, systems, Data integration, technologies, infrastructure and management, managed services, Internet security and connectivity. He is a Director of BESA (British Education Suppliers Association) and was elected to the Executive Council in 2012 again in 2014 & 2016, He is also the Treasurer and sits on the Finance & Management committee.