Hello, my name is Tony Lockwood, and I am the Chair of Applicaa. I was a teacher for 16 years in the state sector. I became a Head of Science in a secondary school in Nottinghamshire and thoroughly enjoyed my time in schools.

What led you to a career in teaching?

I decided to go into teaching because I had a good experience at school myself and particularly enjoying a range of extra-curricular activities. I decided I wanted to give something back to my own local community and to work with young people. During my teaching career, what inspired me most was the feeling that everyone had a chance to make something of their life and that I could try and help to bring that about and to help young people to realise their dreams.

What led you to the tech sector?

During my time as a teacher, I gelled with technology. I started to use more and more tech tools in my lessons, introducing technology into school and later teaching technology to adults too. It seemed a natural progression when looking for a change that I would move into the Ed-Tech sector. After teaching, I had a variety of roles in EdTech companies and most recently I was Head of Product Management at Capita Education Software Solutions with responsibility for a portfolio of products, including the SIMS product.

I love being able to use my teaching and product experience to help develop ed-tech companies I see that have great potential.

Where do you see the future moving for EdTech and specifically for technology in school management?

On the business side, we have seen a significant amount of consolidation in the last year or so. Secondary schools typically use 20-30 ed-tech systems per school, and many of these are being bought by a handful of larger companies. Much more will be done from a MAT, School-Group level in the future as larger organisations look to realise economies of scale and to utilise the advantages of technology. The challenge for the industry is to truly approach business from a MAT perspective, rather than as collections of schools for procurement, licensing, implementation, training, templates, and reports.

What future tech skills do you think the teaching profession will need?

As technology advances, there will be less need to be skilled in using it. There will be more engagement with tech, from a wider group of stakeholders and the tech will be providing faster, easier ways of doing things and crucially, increasingly more reliable, and timely information from which to make decisions. For the Education industry as a whole, big data, AI, etc is still underdeveloped compared with Health and Commerce. I think at some point this will take a big leap forward!