Children’s University digitised their learning platform, helping 23,000 kids participate in 51,000 hours of learning.

‍After years of successfully delivering their programme using time-honoured paper-based systems, we helped Children’s University digitise their organisation by launching Children’s University Online

The Tech Dept built a platform that allows Children’s University to prove to charities, local and national government the effectiveness of their efforts to improve the equality of opportunity for underprivileged kids.

Children’s University are now the only organisation to be collating real-world data to inform and shape better delivery of activities for all children.

Helen O'Donnell, CEO of Children's University, said that "embracing digital technology was the only way we could robustly capture the breadth of evidence of our impact and get a real-time picture of provision and participation in informal learning.”

Children’s University had no way to prove the efficacy of their efforts.

Without accurate data – both quantitative and qualitative – there’s only so long charities can continue fighting for funding.

Children’s University needed data to prove the impact of their work. And to tell the story to funders and governments, who back them to give as many young children access to education beyond the classroom.

When we met Children’s University, they were using a paper-based system, which made it impossible to collect data.Without that data, they’d struggle to survive.

They needed help.

CEO, Helen O’Donnell, was searching for a solution but felt disappointed by her treatment by other tech people.

“As a middle-aged woman, who is a technophobe, I come across many developers, tech and I.T. guys who find it a hurdle to deal with me. They roll their eyes at me. Or I’m faced with a wall of geeks with no social skills, who are scared of assertive women.

But The Tech Dept are just a bunch of normal people who are able to socially interact with us. And do what we need on a long-term, strategic level.

They don’t make me feel stupid, because they get what I’m trying to achieve – the final outcome, rather than just thinking about the tech”

We built a fully digital learning platform – Children’s University Online

We built a digital platform that allows children to find activities online and log what they’ve completed (called stamps). The children can track their hours which earns them rewards in the form of Children’s University graduations.

Children’s University now have rich data that was previously impossible to access. The data shows the team what activities the children are doing, which they match with data from schools to tell a narrative of how extra curricular activity improves educational and life outcomes. Allowing them to deliver special projects for NESTA, measuring the impact of activities related to training and employment of older children.

“I just love The Tech Dept. I think they’re brilliant. I love them as people. They are really easy to work with.From a charity POV – a lot of private sector companies take advantage of us. We’re easy pickings. They bamboozle us. It’s really nice to have found a company to work with who are on the same page and have our best interest at heart."

It’s never felt like a transactional relationship. More like a long-term partnership.”

200 plus schools now signed up

Children’sUniversity are seeing growing interest in their platform from schools that are heavily focused on the recovery of their pupils’ mental and social health and wellbeing. Also, more than 200 schools have signed up for an evaluation of Children’s University by the Education Endowment Foundation using the platform. 

This is one phase of an ongoing partnership between Children’s University and The TechDept.

“We’re a tiny org, with a small group of trustees, and a huge network of schools and kids, The Tech Dept massively added value of digital being at the heart of the work we do. We couldn’t do it without them.”