Save the Children Australia have continued their pioneering foray into impact investing with an allocation to the in-class teaching platform Inquisitive.
The global charity launched their impact fund in 2020, and made their first investment earlier this year.
Inquisitive is an edu-tech start-up that provides both a platform and teaching content to help time poor teachers to better deliver lessons. It has the potential to boost teaching capacity in low socio-economic areas, especially rural and remote areas, and schools with a higher proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.
The system is being used by more than 29,000 teachers in 4,300 schools, which represents more than 60% of Australian primary schools.
“The evidence is clear: supporting teachers is the most effective way to drive improvements in education outcomes. Yet teachers are being asked to play a bigger and bigger role. These issues are pronounced in lower socio-economic schools, rural and remote schools where larger class sizes, more complex student needs, and more languages all add to the difficulty of teaching as well as adding to the risk that the most vulnerable students fall further behind.” Paul Ronalds says, CEO of STC Australia.
Adoption of the platform has been strong, supported by founder Tim Power who was behind other education companies; 3P Learning and ClickView. The Inquisitive business model charges a subscription fee per teacher, and it can be funded by either an individual teacher or a school.
“Inquisitive is working to democratise education and make sure every child is given access to high quality learning. Inquisitive is starting in Australia and has huge international potential, including in low and middle-income countries.” Paul says.
Digital resources offer welcome support to teachers who have limited resources and growing classes sizes, and it will be important to monitor how this new mode of teaching ‘impacts’ student wellbeing.
“We know that the overwhelming majority of positive effects on student learning outcomes come from the work of the teacher. In the short term, getting Inquisitive in the hands of more teachers, especially in regional and remote regions, is a critical measure to level the playing field for access to educational outcomes. Over time, we will jointly conduct long term studies on the resulting impact on student outcomes.” Paul says.
The investment into Inquisitive has clear alignment with their core ambition of supporting less-fortunate children. But also, it offers an important example of how a charity can utilise investable capital to drive positive social impacts to complement the support they offer through grant funding and direct project work.
The potential to earn a return from an investment offers a major boost in funding sustainability at a time when all charities are facing major reductions in donations.