Liverpool-based Jade Parkinson-Hill wins £10,000 in the Cool Initiatives Education Challenge for innovative edtech programme Steam School!

Liverpool-based education consultant and former school leader Jade Parkinson-Hill is celebrating winning the first prize of £10,000 in the Cool Initiatives Education Challenge 2019 competition for her innovative education technology solution Steam School, a weekly broadcast designed to help students learn more about careers within the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) sector. The awards aim to support and recognise original edtech ideas and businesses that will help schools operate more efficiently by providing no strings attached funding to the competition winner and four finalists. 

Steam School was launched by founder Jade as a pilot programme in 2018 with the aim of enabling schools to establish connections with inspirational role models in the STEM sector. The Cool Initiatives judges were impressed by Steam School’s regular broadcasts which discuss tech trends and scientific breakthroughs as well as showcasing inspirational young innovators, including Japanese tech sport companies, Silicon Valley start ups, eco-celebrities and aspiring astronauts. At the end of each broadcast, students are invited to complete a mini challenge using their innate creativity and problem-solving skills in a real world context. Steam School is an excellent resource for inspiring pupils to pursue careers in science and technology and ensuring that STEM topics are covered across the curriculum. 

Cool Initiatives, premier early stage investor in education, launched The Cool Initiatives Education Challenge 2019 in January, offering prize money/funding totalling £17,500 with no financial strings attached. The competition was open to teachers, school staff, students and early stage start-ups with a brilliant education technology idea to drive up educational outcomes by transforming teaching and learning in schools 

The award ceremony took place on 21st June at The Cool Milk headquarters in Lincoln. During the competition, the judges were seeking an idea or service that was able to effectively solve one or more of the three challenges for technology, as identified by Damian Hinds, Secretary of State for Education: 

  • Teaching practices to support access, inclusion, and improved learning outcomes for all; 
  • Assessment processes to become more effective and efficient; 
  • Administration processes to reduce the burden of ‘non-teaching’ tasks. 

The top prize of £10,000 was awarded to the winner, £5,000 to the runner up, £500 to each of the four finalists and £500 to the winner of The People’s Choice category. 

Jade Parkinson-Hill, founder of Steam School commented, “As I am a single mum based in Liverpool and lead a thriving edtech business, I struggle to enter technology competitions that require a significant amount of travel to participate. The fact that the Cool Initiatives process took place remotely via video made it easy to enter the competition. I applaud the Cool Initiatives team for supporting a more diverse range of edtech founders and am incredibly grateful to the judges for selecting Steam School as their 2019 winner – the funding and the award will help propel Steam School onto a global platform.” 

Jon Thornes, founder of Cool Initiatives, philanthropist and finalist judge, said: “The Education Challenge competition was for very early stage start-ups designed to solve challenges within schools. Although the competition has now ended, we look to invest throughout the year – if you have recently started an education business, are a ‘teacherpreneur’ already or have an idea that needs development, do get in touch.” 

For more information on Cool Initiatives and their available funding, please visit http://www.coolinitiatives.com/

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