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Nicole Ponsford
Sep 06, 2023
In Public Forum
Position: CEO and Founder of Global Equality Collective (GEC) Solution Name: Global Equality Collective - ‘GEC Platform’(https://www.thegec.education/diversity-equity-and-inclusion-in-schools) Legal Structure: Ltd company (due to initial funding through angel investment - was CiC originally). Main Funding Source: Private investment March 2020. Crowdfund with Seedrs May - September 2021. Phase(s) of Education: Early Years, Primary, Secondary, 4-18 all through, FE/Post-16 - individual and clusters of state, independent and international schools Numbers of Staff: 8000+ Number of Students: 200,000+ Purposes of Education supported: Mission - To change the world by providing an affordable and accessible resource that global education partners can easily use to break new ground in Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in their classrooms and their communities and creating an educational system that is equitable for all. The Global Equality Collective (GEC) (https://www.thegec.education/)– a global multi-award-winning grassroots movement of over 13,000 changemakers and a collective of 300-plus DEI subject matter experts.  The GEC also created the world’s first D&I platform for schools and educational organisations, which is a knowledge-based, benchmarking tool to audit and improve D&I progress. Solution Description: The Global Equality Collective (GEC) fuse their knowledge base with ground-breaking technology (the GEC Platform)(https://www.thegec.education/diversity-equity-and-inclusion-in-schools) which enables state-of-the-art analytics and the latest academic research to solve one of the biggest issues in education, which is diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). Their aim is simple - to make ordinary classrooms extraordinarily inclusive.   “The GEC Platform is revolutionising not only how education understands diversity and inclusion, but also how edtech can disrupt the sector to improve outcomes for staff and students alike.”  BETT Awards, Finalist in the Innovator of the Year 2023 category • Data-driven insights: The GEC Platform provides immediate results and a data-driven action plan, enabling schools to identify areas for improvement and focus their efforts effectively. • Rigorously tested: The GEC Platform has been thoroughly tested and validated by leading universities, ensuring that the tools, resources, and recommendations provided are of the highest quality and effectiveness in supporting educators’ DEI efforts. • Co-designed: The Platform has been co-designed and tested by school leaders, education experts and most importantly teachers and students • Comprehensive resources: The platform offers a wealth of resources, including a 'Netflix-style' training hub with e-learning modules, teaching content, and materials for assemblies, ensuring a wide range of support for educators. • Simple and user-friendly: The GEC Platform follows a straightforward four-step process, making it easy for schools and educational organisations to assess, measure and improve their DEI initiatives. • Tailored and impactful: The platform is designed to be adaptable to each institutions’ unique needs, offering personalised recommendations and guidance to drive meaningful change in diversity, equity, and inclusion. • Completely anonymous: Both the Staff Survey and the Student are completely anonymous to ensure truthful and meaningful data is given. No participant will be able to be identified by their answers or the demographic information they provide.  Our framework and surveys  • We have spent over 3 years developing the framework for diversity, equity and inclusion, working in partnership with 4 leading universities, our 300+ GEC Collective experts D&I and in collaboration with our global community of over 13k members. • We’ve written the framework and all the resources in a way that means you can do everything yourself - all accessible to you, with no need for consultancy from us.  • Everything is online and in the cloud, meaning that you can log into your account anywhere, on any device.  • We’ve developed a complete suite of e-learning resources created by over 300+ subject matter experts, including over 35 leadership eLearning modules - specifically written for the leaders tasked with tackling these issues.  • We refresh our resource suite each cycle to make sure that you, our members, stay at the very forefront. • We built the GEC Platform so that you can access it. Your membership gives you access to the GEC Platform for a year.  Benefits to organisations: • The quality and inclusion data is filterable to a granular level by all the demographic information your employees provide to us: Sex, Gender, Race, Disability, Religion, Age, Parental status, Socio-economic status, Department, Location. • All of our members get a GEC Membership Mark to display and show others that you are committed to solving the problem of imbalance.   • Depending on how well you do on the Staff Survey, you may also qualify for the GEC Award to set yourselves apart.  We are intersectional Intersectional inclusion is our mission. We look to support the inclusion of all people, beyond their core characteristics or how they identify. The 9 characteristics protected by the 2010 Equality Act are our foundation (age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation) but we don’t stop there. We also include socio-economic status, single parents rights, neurodiversity inclusion, menopause awareness, flexible working, and Global Citizenship. We call them the Global Equality Characteristics. Solution Origin: After working in education for over 20 years as a teacher, school leader, trainer, and coach, Nic wanted to find an accessible means to make ordinary classrooms extraordinarily inclusive.  Nic is passionate about creating a level playing field for everyone in education, but especially those from underserved groups. In 2017, Nic set up the Global Equality Collective (GEC)(https://www.thegec.education/) to address 'one of the biggest issues in education' - diversity and inclusion.   With the GEC, Nic also created the world’s first D&I platform for schools and educational organisations, which is a knowledge-based, benchmarking tool to audit and improve D&I progress. Following a leadership-led Self-Assessment process, ‘GEC Platform’ members then access 360, academically tested surveys for both Staff and Students, capturing their unique perspectives and needs like never before. Analytical results are provided alongside QAed recommendations, for every question and statement, together with an action plan to drive improvement for their very own DE&I ecosystem.  All data quality is assured by the Global Equality Collective.  The GEC Platform recently won the 'DEI Platform of the Year’ - Women in IT (UK) - where the judges were blown away by the simplicity and success of the DEI technology.  The GEC Platform was also runner-up in the Global Edtech Startup Awards 2023. Nic is dedicated to transforming the lives of underrepresented young people and ‘usualising’ difference.  She is an experienced interviewee and speaker, a Doctorate Researcher #CEMPDOC, a Fellow of both the RSA (https://www.thersa.org/events/fellowship/2022/04/education-needs-inclusive-sustainable)and IESE (https://instituteforequity.ac.uk/fellows/)for work in education and inclusion, Award-winning ed-tech leader with a demonstrated history both in the classroom and in the e-learning industry. Nic is also a Harvard-published author and a Director of EdtechUK as well as a Judge for UK EdTech50.  Nic was headhunted to work on the DfE Edtech Demonstrator Programme onboarding 11k schools to get online during the pandemic lockdown.  Nic has since been headhunted to lead on further Dfe projects based on edtech and inclusion, such as the Assistive Technology (AT) Pilot and Programme with nasen and Microlink.  Nic is also Co-Deputy Head of Education, where she is leading the change in advancing AT training and professional development, as part of the transformative ‘Be ThAT Teacher’ initiative).  Back in 2005, Nic won a Pearson Teaching Award for ‘Outstanding New Teacher’ Since this, Nic most recently has been recognised as one of Europe's top 50 women in tech through the #InspiringFiftyEurope2022 award, gained a Rising Star Award (Education and Academia) and was a finalist for BETT 2023 ‘Innovator of the Year’. #SmashingStereotypes Top50 Inspiring Women in Tech Europe | Rising Star - Education & Academia Winner | Edtech50 UK | Doctoral Researcher - edtech & DEI Potential for systemic impact (EXCLUDING Equity)? The GEC Platform – an award-winning world-first D&I platform for schools and educational organisations The GEC Platform is an accessible, affordable, and impactful cloud-based tool designed for schools and educational organisations to tackle diversity and inclusion. It provides schools and educational organisations with a knowledge-based, benchmarking tool to understand D&I requirements and measure D&I progress, plus a network of over 300+ D&I experts to tap into for further support alongside an online community of over 13k members for peer conversations and experience.  In just 18 months, the GEC Platform is used in over 25 countries, has surveyed 8,000+ educators and as a result, has impacted on over 197,000 students, whilst surveying over 2,000 during our pilot of the Student Module.  The GEC works with 300 schools, colleges and education organisations - across 25+ countries - delivering superior educational, training, and mentoring support to schools, to make ordinary classrooms extraordinarily inclusive.  Does the solution improve Equity? How? The GEC Platform simplifies the process of improving diversity, equity, and inclusion through three simple award-winning and academically tested checkbox surveys. The first is a self-assessment for the leadership of the organisation, while the second is a staff survey, designed for all team members from the site team to SLT, that includes inbuilt Anti-Racist monitors and the Modern Sexism Scale. Now, in 2023, the GEC has launched the ‘Student Module’ which includes a survey co-designed with digital design agency, Pixie Labs, Goldsmith University, 50 nurseries, schools and colleges - teachers and students alike.  Results are immediate, with a statement that includes effective, quality-assured recommendations for each point. Planning a personalised DEI road map, based on these recommendations is easy with the 'GEC Action Plan’, enabling schools and organisations to take actionable steps towards creating a more inclusive environment for all members. In addition to this, platform members get access to a ‘Netflix’ style online library of content with over 230 resources for them to educate themselves on everything DEI.  Barriers to adoption relating to Accountability Rules and Funding Formulae: Funds, connections to educational influencers and government policy makers. Small start up team! No funding - would love to get this out at scale for free - government backed. It has huge potential! Other barriers to adoption: Main barrier - as members love it - is not having access to funding to match traction. Want to scale. DfE and Academisation networks. Additional Comments? D&I lens. Working female founder with 3 kids - means issues around working hours. New face on the block - means not connected at influencer level. Vision - To be the respected ‘go to’ DEI resource enabling schools and colleges around the globe to affect social change for their communities, making ordinary classrooms extraordinarily inclusive.
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