A former Paralympic swimmer will chair a new group of experts convened to help deliver the Department for Education’s (DfE) EdTech strategy, which aims to boost the use of technology in education. Baron Chris Holmes MBE, who is visually impaired and represented Great Britain at four Paralympic games between 1988 and 2000, will lead the EdTech Leadership Group (ELG). He is also the co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Assistive Technology.

The ELG, which met for the first time on 3 June 2019, will provide expert advice and support on initiatives such as ‘demonstrator schools and colleges’ to showcase technology best practice and provide training for teachers, lecturers and school leaders. It will also consider how it can get industry, government and the education sector to work together more effectively, and aims to set this out in a formal pact by the end of 2019. The group has 27 members, 16 of whom are from the education sector. The other 11 are ‘industry’ members and include representatives from companies such as Microsoft, Apple and Google, as well as the innovation foundation Nesta.

The DfE’s EdTech strategy aims to use technology to address 10 ‘key education challenges’, including reducing teachers’ marking workload, and looking at how technology can make training more accessible and tailored to individual needs of teachers. It also seeks to promote the use of innovative technology to ‘level the playing field’ for people with special educational needs and disabilities.

Chris Skidmore, an education minister, commented ‘Baron Holmes is an outstanding person to lead the group and I am sure that his passion, experience and ability will help us maintain the momentum of the EdTech Strategy.’

Baron Holmes said ‘I am truly proud to be chairing this EdTech Leadership Group. It represents a great opportunity to work together to ensure every student and our entire education system can access the benefits that technology can bring.’

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