A few words from Natalie Moore, CEO, Apps for Good
The 2022/23 academic year has thrown the UK education system under the spotlight again, highlighting the challenges for both teachers and learners. We’ve seen teacher strikes, with a devastating number of teachers leaving the profession, due to an ever increasing workload without the pay and work/life balance to match, this in turn causing more disruption to our young people’s education. We’re also deep into a cost of living crisis where we’re seeing rising child poverty, with as many as 172 families being made homeless everyday, meaning more families are requiring support and our schools and teachers on the frontline are stepping up to help as much as they can. The Fair Education Alliance have outlined a clear urgency to invest in education in their most recent manifesto, and I personally couldn’t agree more. These young people are our future and it’s only fair that every young person, no matter their background has the opportunity to thrive.
Whilst the bigger picture feels pretty gloomy, I’m absolutely confident that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and I continue to be blown away by the teachers who are going above and beyond to provide their students with the education and opportunities that they deserve. I personally spent most of the 2022/23 academic year on maternity leave watching the progress of Apps for Good and our schools from the side lines, and have felt so proud to return to such a positive picture with great momentum for the future as can be seen in this Impact Report.
Throughout the year we’ve overhauled our approach to impact and evaluation, improving the way we gather feedback and measure impact to ensure we are rigorous in our reporting, without adding too much to the teacher workload. It’s important for us to understand the impact our courses are having so that we can continue to refine our approach in the future. In 2024 we will continue with our impact and evaluation focus with the support of The Hg Foundation.
Despite the challenges schools are facing, we were pleased to see a rise in the number of schools delivering Apps for Good courses reaching almost 29,000 young people in the 2022/23 academic year, which is a 43% increase compared to 2021/22. 85% of those students reported improvement in more than one essential skill. We plan to continue with this growth in the 2023/24 academic year as we deliver our Innovate for Climate Change course even further and introduce schools to our new App for Social Action course.
We will continue to activate our networks and focus on building relationships with Multi-academy Trusts (MATs). We were delighted to be involved in the Climate Change and Digital Innovation Summit (CCADIS) held by the Chiltern Learning Trust alongside many of our supporters and partners. We have also started to build our Fellowship community of teachers to ensure we keep in touch with lived experience and have key advocates in the education space. In early 2024 we will also pilot a brand new AI for Good course which will see students explore new ways to use AI to improve the quality of people’s lives and/or solve problems that people in communities are facing.
We know that it’s more important than ever to provide a supportive scaffolded framework for our teachers so that they really can pick up our content and instantly deliver, no matter their experience or subject specialism and without adding to their workload. That’s why we’ve made lots of improvements to our course content; all of our courses are now fully mapped to the computing curriculums across all four nations of the UK with new and improved support for teachers, so that it’s easy for non-specialist teachers to pick up and deliver with ease. Our courses also focus on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), enriching the curriculum and encouraging students to use technology to solve some of the world's most pressing problems. We’ve made some changes to our course structure too; decreasing the number of sessions per course so they can be taught within one half term, introducing our new eWorkbooks, a brand new Youth Ideation Toolkit and maximising the use of digital tools.
Our data shows us that 60% of the students who entered our annual Showcase are now more interested in a career in technology. This is why we’ve fully embedded Industry Engagement sessions and Showcase entry into all of our courses to ensure every young person can make the most of these opportunities. We’re also working to grow and better support our community of Industry Volunteers.
Overall I’m extremely proud of the impact we’ve been able to make in the 2022/23 academic year, and I want to say a special thank you to our funders and partners; AWS, Balanced Impact, BNY Mellon, CompTIA, DeepMind, EPAM, Garfield Weston, GoCardless, Google, Kingston Technology, Northern Consortium, OVO Foundation, Sage, SAP, Siemens, Spotify and TPX Impact, we wouldn’t be able to do it without you.
I’m excited to see what the future holds. There’s absolutely more work to be done and I truly believe that the energy from the Apps for Good team and board, the resilience from our students, the commitment from our teachers and the support from our funders, partners and volunteers will move us a step closer to ensuring young people, regardless of their background, can develop the tech innovation skills to thrive in an ever-changing world.
Read more about our focus in 2023/24