Next generation of English teachers embrace edtech
In April 2022, the National Education Union (NEU) published data revealing that 44% of surveyed teachers plan to leave the profession by 2027 and that more than half of respondents (52%) said that their workload was ‘unmanageable’ or ‘unmanageable most of the time’. Of all secondary school subject specialisms, few would disagree that the greatest pressure of examination outcomes and the heaviest of workloads is often felt by the teachers and leaders of GCSE English Language and Literature. With this in mind, a recent collaboration project between Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) and a Liverpool-based edtech company sought to tackle this issue. Between February-May 2023, former LCR English teacher, five-times head of department and nationwide multi-academy trust (MAT) English adviser, Tom Reynolds (SLE), a finalist in this year’s Great British Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, showcased his edtech platform, EdenFiftyOne, to the next generation of secondary education English teachers. Orchestrated alongside LJMU senior lecturer and edtech aficionado, Pete Atherton, the 8-week pilot study was an opportunity for Tom to demonstrate how the award-winning ‘EFO’ platform ‘empowers teachers, engages learners and improves the experience and outcomes of English education’. Project participants provided ‘99% positive feedback’ for the EdenFiftyOne platform. Throughout multiple head of department roles, Tom identified that regardless of exam board or curriculum design, there are 51 fundamental skills at the core of the English language, literature and wholeschool literacy. Designed and developed by Tom, who believes that he truly understands the challenges faced by English teachers, leaders and learners alike (himself a late-diagnosed dyslexic), EdenFiftyOne provides a pioneering and contemporary response to the pressures of progressdriven education. Originally conceived within a Microsoft Excel document, the newly designed app. edenfiftyone.com clarifies, monitors, tracks and teaches, deconstructing the universal demands of secondary English education into a clear and colourful shared learning journey. As a result of this innovation, Tom and EdenFiftyOne have received national and international accolades over the last 12 months. With more video content due to be embedded for teacher training and class teaching purposes and a governmentfunded ‘AI exploration’ due to begin in September, Tom says that he is hopeful that EdenFiftyOne and other edtech innovations: “can help to make the workload more manageable; to make the job more enjoyable; to improve teacher, learner and parent connections, and crucially, to keep our passionate educators within the profession.” The EdenFiftyOne team is also pleased to share that, from September 2023, whole-school access to the EFO platform will be available. Later this year, EdenFiftyOne will also be showing its support at the 2023 Educate Awards, providing one full academic year access to the EFO platform to all winners as a further reward.