A passionate and committed former Head of Department and Senior Leadership Team member, James spent 10 years in UK secondary schools gaining 3 'outstanding' ratings by Ofsted in that time. Having held roles across the school from teacher right through to digital learning deputy head, James understands the challenges and complexities of school life. Proving his track record in school, James began working with Lincolnshire County Council to develop and deliver initiatives to narrow the student attainment gap across local authority. in 2013 James took a step up and began working nationally as head of curriculum for one of the largest education companies in the UK. With a specialism in using technology to improve student learning, James has worked the length of the country, and has picked up awards and accolades along the way. In 2014 Apple recognised his skill and expertise with technology appointing him to become the 57th Apple Education Trainer within the UK. In 2015 The Department of Education recognised his abilities and awarded James 'Specialist Advisor' to the Academy & Free School Programme. Now a number of years out of teaching, James is one of the most sought after individuals in the UK education sector.
A focused and passionate educator, Jay utilises his successful corporate world experience in process and change management to achieve whole school improvement in education. A veteran of large scale school technology projects (with over 20 1:1 projects under his belt) Jay has worked with over 1000 schools and colleges across the UK giving him a deep knowledge of the challenges the average school faces. Combined with his years as a teacher of music with his experience in staff development at Apple Corporate, Jay believes a long term approach is necessary to improve education rather than any overnight quick fix. Early in 2014 Jay was elected to The eAssessment Association board, becoming the youngest board member of the largest UK not-for-profit organisation developing digital assessment in education. In late 2014 the MTTEP, a European wide project tasked with preparing trainee teachers to use technology for learning, invited Jay to fly to Germany and join the project which he did. Through his work at LearnMaker Jay has 2 nominations in the 2016 Naace Impact Awards, is a regular contributor to industry magazines and will be presenting the education award at the 2016 BlogAwards Final.
THE LEARNMAKER STORY SO FAR
James leaves teaching and joins the commercial education sales world to develop and run the training division. In the first month at his new employer he meets Jay, who is managing Apple sales across the Northern territory at the company. After a seemingly endless day unboxing 500 iPads at a Essex College they become instant friends.
After a full academic year with the company the training division James was brought onboard to develop has still not been signed off by the Directors, while Jay feels he can't spend quality time to work with his clients and develop their use of technology with company targets ramping up. Catching up over lunch at the M&S pasta bar on Fosse Park retail park in Leicester, Jay and James formulate a business plan on the back of a napkin. The seeds are sown.
Decided that LearnMaker will become a reality, Jay and James make the drive to their employer's London HQ to quit their jobs. They set up and start LearnMaker investing their combined life savings into the business and celebrate their new found freedom with a ice cream sundae.
LearnMaker officially begin trading on 1st October 2014. The company is built on one simple premise; to support schools to improve learning with ICT. To do so means LearnMaker will always remain impartial and Jay and James agree that LearnMaker will never stock or sell another company's products or software. The same month James is appointed as a Apple Educational Trainer by Apple's UK education team.
Jay meets Broadgreen International School, and LearnMaker commission their first project. The project goal is to transform a underperforming Maths department with the use of the school's iPads. After 10 weeks with the school the project comes to an end that outperformed both Jay and James's wildest expectations. Student engagement increases by 98% and marking turnaround reduces from 2 weeks to 48 hours.
Jay runs for a board position at The eAssessment Association, the UK's largest not-for-profit organisation focused on the adoption of digital assessment in education. Attending the annual London AGM, Jay is elected to the board.
Jay and James commission the 'app development' project with Invicta Primary School, a cutting edge London school who want to see what students are capable of achieving with ICT. Working with a mixed ability and age range group of 15 primary children over 5 days, James and the team work with the children to design, develop and build a fully working iPad app. The project is hailed as a success and becomes part of the Greenwich Borough summer activities campaign. It is shown on big screens around the borough.
James is selected to work on the prestigious Apple Leadership Tour alongside veteran iPad educators Joe Moretti and Andrew Jewell, delivering sessions to over 200 attendees in York and Manchester. Manchester attendees give the day a 4.9 (out of 5) rating, the highest ever received in the history of the Tour.
LearnMaker officially leave their Manchester home in MediaCity and set up camp in Birmingham, choosing the city's creative centre The Custard Factory as their new residence. Jay is instantly amazed at how much nicer Birmingham's weather is than Manchester.
Things get busy! Jay and James rerun the app project with Parkroyal Community Primary School, building and developing on the project further. They're then both invited to join the MTTEP Project - a European collective project between 7 countries looking at how to improve teacher training programs to cope with the demands of classroom technology. James and Jay fly out to Germany to attend the conference which also coincides with the company's 1st birthday. Unable to find champaign in the land of beer they settle with a stein or two.
Both the Broadgreen iPad project and the Invicta Primary app development project are nominated for the 2016 NAACE Impact Awards. The same month LearnMaker are awarded 'Specialist Advisor' status by The Department of Education, and begin consulting on the Academy and Free School program.
Midway through the month Jay and James train their 1500th teacher since starting LearnMaker.
The Academies Show hear about the Parkroyal app project and invite the team to talk at their NEC show. Jay and James attend with key school members but also take along Ruby and Mark, 2 of the Year 6 students who worked on the project and showed fantastic leadership. Ruby and Mark join LearnMaker on stage to give their own speeches on the project. The students receive rapturous applause.
New projects begin as Parkroyal School and Invicta Primary sign on to work with LearnMaker through their new build processes. Jay and James utilise their expertise and knowledge to work with the schools through the LearnMaker framework and begin work to put both at the cutting edge of UK primary education.
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