How did the idea for your business come about?
Between 2009 and 2013 I was the Headteacher of a school in difficulty. I wanted to help the teaching team to rapidly improve and looked to technology to support them. No such technology existed. Having succeeded in moving the school to a ‘Good’ Ofsted rating, I quit my job, took the knowledge I had gained and began working on the development of a technology with the capability to transform all schools; YouTeachMe.
What is the USP of YouTeachMe?
Only school staff can solve the challenges facing the education system. Everything we do is designed to help them improve their own work and in doing so, enable others to improve too.
Who can use YouTeachMe?
Any school. We are working with all school types; Early Years, Infant, Junior, Primary, Secondary, Special and Alternative Provision. Wherever learning and teaching is taking place, YouTeachMe will add value to it.
How do you know that it makes a difference?
Everyone tells us it does. Feedback from pupils, families and school staff is incredibly positive. As we grow, we will seek opportunities to further prove impact through data analysis and academic research.
What difficulties have you encountered setting up your business?
I’m not a technologist, so I had no idea the scale of the challenge I was taking on. I naively thought that creating the code would be a quick and relatively cheap process. I now know that it is not.
What are the biggest trade and export challenges you face?
Without a doubt, having opportunities to meet with strategic decision makers in education systems is the biggest challenge I face. This is why
What are the most crucial things you have done to grow and develop your business?
First and foremost, the platform has been relentlessly improved based up feedback from teachers and leaders in a small number of amazing schools. This has enabled us to build a product that perfectly fits the needs of all their stakeholders and ensures that it ‘just works’ for school staff coming to it for the first time.
How did you hear about the CWF programme and what made you apply?
My business advisor first told me about the CWF programme. I applied because I believed that my technology platform (YouTeachMe) could easily be implemented within any education system worldwide. As such, the programme was an opportunity that was clearly too good to miss.
What are you hoping to get out of the CWF programme?
I hope to get opportunities to show how the UK Education is leading the way in thought leading and creative solutions to the problems of global education. I hope to connect schools across the Commonwealth to share practice and transform educational experiences for all; children, parents, teachers and school leaders.
What is a typical working day for you?
There is no typical day for me. I try to do what needs to be done. This may include platform demonstrations to new schools or Local Authority representatives, testing of new features within the platform or creating video content for schools to use. I even try to keep my paperwork up to date! Cohort 1 Export Champions hi-impact Consultancy Ltd now deliver high-quality staff training with schools on my behalf. This has given me significantly more capacity and has enabled me to work on my business, rather than in it.
Where would you like your business to be in 5 years time?
Within the next 5 years I would like to see YouTeachMe improving educational outcomes across the Commonwealth and beyond.
What advice would you give to anybody looking to set up an SME?
Crack on. Make it happen. Be brave.
View YouTeachMe’s CWF Profile