World of Work – Founder

As part of our new ‘World of Work’ series, our in-house writer Holly Pigache interviews members of the Picaro World and EdTech Lobby community to find out about different professional pathways.  Here, I interview the Founder of Parent Tech Marketing & PRSarah Handley.

What was the path to you founding Parent Tech, for Marketing and PR?

I saw the positive impact that apps and technology were having in my in-house employment as a marketing and PR person. Anxious parents were able to receive reassuring video updates on their child’s progress from the hospital because of the secure video messaging app, vCreate Neonatal. Similarly, the IT Manager was relieved as she received an early-warning alert of a potential student safe-guarding issue at her school because of a web filtering platform. 

I knew that my super-power was elevating brands and helping them increase visibility and I decided that I wanted to set up my own business and do this for multiple clients at the same time. 

I’m super passionate about women role models in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and increasing the number of women who pursue careers in roles that tend to be more popular with men.  I want my little girl and others around the world to be inspired and know that they can be, and do, whatever their heart desires; even if it means them entering a field which is male-dominated; they can achieve greatness! 

I want to be the model for other girls and women to think, if she can do it, so can I! 

What is the most interesting part of your job?

The people. I work with founders and CEOs who are abundantly passionate over what they do and have a deep desire to up-level the world with their life-changing apps. Their creativity and wish to bring positive change in their respective fields (health and/or education) is truly inspiring. My happiest place is when I am creating messaging that I know will help my clients to super-charge their visibility online so that they become more attractive to their ideal investor, online communities and their future users. 

What is something that surprises you about your work?

The power of the work. By giving people access to education and health apps that can deliver a solution to their problem that just wasn’t open to them before because of financial constraints or access issues blows my mind. 

Have there been any key turning points in determining your career progression?

I have never shared this before but in previous roles (not including vCreate) I felt like progression up the ranks was limited. Do I feel like that was because I was a woman? Yes, absolutely. It sounds like a cliché but I definitely felt a glass ceiling and when you are performing really well and you don’t receive the recognition for it and then your male counterparts are rewarded instead of you, it is so depressing. I knew there was another path out there that was more aligned to my values and that was becoming an entrepreneur, so I went for it! 

Describe your career journey in three words.

Giant roller coaster. 

Do you have an ultimate career goal?  If so, what is it?

My five-year vision is to help 100,000 app founders by 2025 to increase their visibility so that they can attract their perfect investors, excite communities and engage future users to download and LOVE their app. I will do this through 1-2-1 coaching, online courses, webinars and group coaching. 

I’d love to expand my team and be able to talk with school children about how exciting a career in STEM is; we know there is an increased demand for coding and digital skills but there is also a need for people who can communicate effectively and know that building an app is just one part of the jigsaw; bringing an app to market needs a perfectly balanced mix of skills like research, sales and communication so there are jobs to be had in these areas too. 

Would you do anything differently if you could start your career again?

I would have spoken up more in meetings and put my opinion across. This comes second nature to me now because I have identified and worked around why I didn’t feel able to speak up before. I had self-belief and self-esteem issues that originated from the playground; I felt like what I had to say wasn’t good enough and people would laugh at me. It took me a long time to realise and address this issue; working with coaches and mentors I have been able to remove the blocks that had previously stood in my way.

If you could do any job in the world, what would it be?

I am doing it now. 

What’s the main piece of advice you would give to someone wanting to start a business?

Believe in yourself 110%. You can believe in the work you do. You can believe that by taking consistent action towards your goal, but if you don’t believe in yourself, you will be living a watered-down life and never get to live your best life or become the person you were born to be. 

​Read More

World of Work – Managing Director

As part of our new ‘World of Work’ series, our in-house writer Holly Pigache interviews members of the Picaro World and EdTech Lobby community to find out about different professional pathways. Here, she interviews the MD of Felser and the PAGS® ProfileFeliciea Jibson.

What was the path to you becoming Managing Director of Felser and the PAGS® Profile?

I’d say it was different from most people. Before opening Felser, I had been the Head of Post-16 and -19 provision for students with specific learning and physical disabilities. I absolutely loved the job, people, school’s ethos and values. I was conducting research in cognitive development and applied those findings in practice, all the time searching for new methods of teaching and learning. I’m proud to say, that we were ahead of many schools in the region. Throughout my career, I have also noticed that more experienced and resourceful teachers can still find it a challenge to meet the needs of individuals and their families as they evolve over time.  

My personal life changed and I moved to Belgium, so here I started to work on the PAGS® concept with professionals from the UK and Belgium. Over the last three years, creating the PAGS® framework, I have collaborated with a large group of professionals, pooling a wealth of knowledge and experience. The information PAGS® provides is used to set targets for developing skills that prepare the learners for adulthood. PAGS® is the best assessment tool and completely bespoke; you can say I am biased, but this is the truth. As an EdTech start-up at the Bett Show in London 2020, we had lots of interest and worldwide visitors from education backgrounds, parents, teachers and from different organisations. We have a super network of affiliated partners, and it’s great to know and work with them. Our operational team is getting stronger and stronger.

What is the most interesting part of your job?

Meeting people, making new connections, learning from their experiences and their cultural backgrounds. I love interacting and meeting new people and developing a sustainable company. The buzz of something different happening every day.

What is something that surprises you about your work?

Every day there is something new to learn either how to use a piece of software, make a digital design, doing a presentation, a demo, or learning more words in a new language, French or Dutch. 

Have there been any key turning points in determining your career progression?

A couple I would say. Changing countries would be one, studying and learning in a new educational system would be another. Being passionate about special needs education, I feel that we, meaning globally, have to do everything we can to empower SEN learners to lead a fulfilling and less-dependent life. 21st Century skills is a hot topic, to be skilled in doing jobs that currently do not exist; that is looking into the future. 

Describe your career journey in three words.

#passionate #risky #commited  

Do you have an ultimate career goal? If so, what is it?

To develop further the product and add the PAGS® profile to the development of 21st Century skills – the global learner transcending the borders, as in fact PAGS® can help all children. Knowing your strengths and areas of development is such skill, knowing where to start developing them is another.

Would you do anything differently if you could start your career again?

I think I will be doing the same thing. I’m glad I have an educational background and am happy to be an entrepreneur. Hence, my determination to create a platform that is unique, accessible and that brings the most innovative approaches to the teachers, parents and professionals.

If you could do any job in the world, what would it be?

That would be the same as I do today. This is a very rewarding job, stimulates my creativity and fuels the passion. 

What’s the main piece of advice you would give to someone wanting to reach MD level in business?

Work hard and never give up! Find a great mentor, be ready to lead every day with confidence. 

​Read More

SEN & Tech – BETT Reflection

Picaro Kim had a wonderful time at BETT this year.  She wanted to find out how we can support children with SEN through technology.  Here, she tells us about her visit and what she’s learnt…

I often hear teachers in schools sharing ideas of how they can help children in their class who struggle with speech and language (S&L).  So when I saw the seminar schedule, I couldn’t resist Carol Allen’s talk about supporting children with communication difficulties.

Carol said difficulty with speech, language or communication is the biggest identified area of need in the U.K. and that these problems underlie most SEN.  And although she didn’t tell us about the prevalence in other countries, I’m sure there are many children in our partner schools who would benefit from S&L support.

Of course, our communication has far-reaching impacts; affecting all areas of our lives.  (See end of this article for links to helpful resources).  The important thing to remember with S&L problems is that early intervention is key when dealing with transient communication difficulties.  Some S&L problems will be permanent, but if children are showing problems expressing language at an early age when they begin schooling, it’s so important to speak with parents and discuss interventions.  Carol reminded us of the difference between ‘Receptive’ communication and ‘Expressive’ communication.  Many children with S&L difficulties will show understanding of communication and of what is said to them (receptive) but will find it a challenge to communicate their wants, needs and thoughts (expressive).

One way to help children in the early stages of communication development is to practise sign language with children.  Far from hindering a child’s learning of oral language, Carol said sign language can really help children transition into speaking because they have additional communicative resources to express their wants and needs.  (EdTech Lobby distributes a programme that teaches very young children the fundamentals of sign language.  Find out more about WOW here.)

Then it was time for audience participation!  Carol asked us to think about our favourite foods and then to try and describe them solely by their textures.  My, this was hard!  We heard sniggers from the audience as we were all surprised how tricky it was – Carol drew the comparison that this is how it can feel for a child who has social communication difficulties.

As we were at the BETT show, of course, technology was going to feature in the talk.  Carol emphasised the importance of tech being a final add-on in a lesson as opposed to the leading force of the lesson (‘I’ve found this great app and want to use it with my class…how what should I teach with it?’).  She said lessons need to be built like this:

Teachers need to think about how they’re going to communicate with their class, what core vocabulary they’re going to teach, followed by incorporating a specific topic or target theme.  Then, they should consider how they’re going to teach it (the activity), and consider if technology will help the children’s learning.  Sometimes, technology will be suitable for all children for part of the lesson, sometimes it will be suitable for some children, and sometimes it is best not to include technology.

But then I thought about schools with no access to tech hardware or the internet!  What do those schools do when there’s a need for tech in the classroom?

Well, ‘tech’ can be low- or high-tech!

High-tech – BETT was full of exciting bits of tech for the classroom!  Here’s a selection of my favourite pieces:

  • Sphero’s Specdrums. These little rings turn colours into sounds, turning your world into your instrument!  Music is an amazing way to engage learners and ELT Songs is a great resource to incorporate into your teaching.  I think these rings would also be perfect for recording different sounds or audio bites to help children in their phonics learning, language sequencing or retelling of stories (click here to see how to record different sounds on the Specdrums’ MIX app.)
  • An oldy but a goody, sound-recording tiles are a wonderful teaching resource. Teachers can record modelled sentences for children to playback and children can also record their own voice.
  • Sensory rooms and experiences by Aurora. These are for big budgets but I had to include them on this list!

Low-tech – Here are some great resources that can be used in the classroom:

  • Books! Use books as a ‘hook’ to teach about sentence openers, adjectives, to inspire a piece of art… the possibilities are endless!
  • Mighty Writer – this rubberised mat can be stuck on the wall or the floor to help children from the age of three years old with forming story sentences.

  • This reminds me of Talk4Writing by Pie Corbett; a simple way to retell stories with pictures and actions. Here’s one made by our Editor, Holly Pigache which you could use in your classroom:

Why not have a go at creating your own Talk4Writing story using one of the Picaro Storybooks?  Share them with us on our Instagram!

  • Teachers could create their own sensory story boxes. These are especially useful for children with language difficulties.  Carol showed us a good example of a sensory story box for the Three Little Pigs: three pink wooden spoons with pig faces on them, a bunch of sticks, a handful of straw and some building bricks.  These visual, tactile prompts can be a big help for young children to retell a story.
  • Spelling strategies like Sir Linkalot (we picked up a badge to remind us when to use practice (noun) and practise (verb).

Remember, it’s important to bear in mind that it’s not only children with SEN that may benefit from additional resources (low, high or no-tech)!  If a child is struggling with their learning, tackling the topic from a different angle can be really beneficial.  I’d love to hear what you try in your classrooms, so please share on our social media pages [Instagram | Facebook | Twitter] or email georgia.eyers@picaroeducation.com.

If you want to find out more about what I learn on my adventures, make sure you follow me on Instagram.

Bye for now!

Useful links to support children with speech and language difficulties:

https://ican.org.uk/ – I CAN is a U.K. charity that provides excellent information and help for parents, carers and practitioners to support children in developing their speech, language and communication skills.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ICANcharity

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/icantalk

https://www.thecommunicationtrust.org.uk/ – The Communication Trust – a coalition of over 50 not-for-profit organisations, supporting everyone who works with children and young people in England to support their speech, language and communication.  There are brilliant resources on this website for children of all ages.

Storyline Online has an extensive selection of children’s stories read well; brilliant for modelling language and supporting pronunciation.

Written by: Holly PigacheFacebooktwitterlinkedinyoutubeinstagramFacebooktwitterlinkedinyoutubeinstagram

​Read More


The political wheel of fortune has turned and we now have some certainty about what that means for UK EdTech and education providers. With 2019 showing excellent export growth for UK companies with BESA recording over 14% growth in UK education exports, there is clearly a demand and a market for UK education products around the world in 2020.

‘Where is this market?’ some might ask.

With questions on the health of the emerging markets and less demand for ex-pat school places across the world, it is clear that the market is changing. New growth is coming from the expanding middle classes across China, SE Asia, India and the Middle East where families continue to see English language education (and so UK curricula and associated products) as highly valuable. Supporting this high growth is the continued rise in GDP of Emerging Economies. A recent PWC report predicted that, ‘Emerging markets (E7) could grow around twice as fast as advanced economies (G7) on average’ meaning that, ‘six of the seven largest economies in the world are projected to be emerging economies in 2050 led by China (1st), India (2nd) and Indonesia (4th)’ and leaving the US in third place and the UK 10th by 2050…

While this growth might seem threatening to the UK it also presents a fantastic opportunity for UK exporters to sell into these emerging growth markets. International schools continue to lead the way in both supporting the English language as the international language but also in supporting international-mindedness. More and more parents see this international mindset as valuable and want their children to have the opportunities and advantages that international education is seen as providing.

This growth in demand is supported not only by the continuing growth of iGCSE and British based curricula but also of the International Baccalaureate across PYP, MYP, DP and CP and by Fieldwork education offering the IEYC, IPC and IMYC. There are also really interesting new curricula beginning to appear like New Nordic School and Green School. International education is growing and UK companies are well placed to support and expand with this growth.

So, with some political certainty, it’s safe to say that the UK is open for EdTech Export!

Written by: Dylan Jones

Edited by: Holly PigacheFacebooktwitterlinkedinyoutubeinstagramFacebooktwitterlinkedinyoutubeinstagram

​Read More

Meet us at BETT 2018

We’re Exhibiting at Bett 2018 as part of the Great British Trail sponsored by the UK Department of International Trade.

Come and find us at stand C80 for a demo of all of our products and a chat with our team.


​Read More