Norfolk Network stories

My vision is to change education

Louella Schooley

Developing Experts’ CEO Sarah Mintey joined Norfolk Network to tell us how she went from classroom teacher to educational disrupter. Developing Experts provides an online learning tool that helps generically trained primary school teachers deliver complete science lessons to their pupils in detail and with confidence. But it’s more than an online Tech tool, it crucially approaches the problem of teaching science from a curriculum solution angle.

The big educational challenge

The story starts with Sarah recognising a crisis in our primary schools. With years and years of teaching experience under her belt, Sarah realised that things had to change in order to encourage and inspire the next generation of scientists. The current primary level educational system trains teachers to be good generic teachers, but many find it challenging to teach the more specialist subjects, and results show that children are failing to become inspired in science subjects in particular.

To teach science with confidence requires detailed knowledge about the subject and Sarah’s mission was to develop a curriculum-led solution that supports, trains and helps teachers to be their very best. The online platform brings in subject matter experts to contribute to every lesson, and provides teachers with lesson structure, planning documents, relevant collateral, plus follow up quizzes to test knowledge at home. The 700 lessons are mapped against 12 different curricula, and are positioned as a crucial resource to support – not replace – teachers.

“You are not the sum of you, you are the sum of your network.”

Sarah credits much of her success to her ability to build a strong team around her. By piecing together a very strong board it has allowed her to lead the business. She was keen to point out that she’s “surrounded by people who are way better than me” so that she doesn’t have to be a subject matter expert in everything. This has allowed the business to gain substantial investment with forecasts of up to £15m being invested in 2019.

Who’s interested?

This product was originally aimed at the UK, but Sarah quickly identified the huge potential of selling to the international market. She has already been out to India, China and Saudi Arabia and has established strong relationships within their educational departments. With a 12-18 month time period before any contracts are finalised, this is a long game that requires a “tenacious belief” that the business will start to turn over money.

What does the future hold?

Further investment is being sought to continue business growth, with a key goal being to invest in finding an offline solution for developing nations with intermittent internet coverage. Her team are developing multi language solutions to facilitate the sell into India, China and Saudi Arabia, alongside Key Stage 4 science resources being written. To add to their ambitious plans they are developing a Maths offering for teachers too.

Enough to keep them busy for a few more months!

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