‘I want to promote a new way of thinking in education.’
In the UK, 25% of children start school behind in essential early language development which can have an impact throughout their school years. Chris was asked to lead a project by Hull City Council, who were concerned that children were starting school behind in spoken language. What the children were missing was quality time with adults talking, playing and singing. Chris developed a very simple approach to address this gap which could be delivered through an app and that became Chatta.
Chris proudly tells us the most common reaction from teachers and parents is, ‘I had no idea they were capable of that.’ Rather than being limited to the school day, the Chatta approach involves teachers, carers and parents making learning a part of the child’s every day and helping them get the best start. Chris is clear, technology cannot replace teachers, it’s about giving the teachers the skills and tools to do the job as well as they can.
Initially backed by the Early Years Team at Hull City Council, Chris quickly developed a relationship with Pocklington School, an independent school in East Yorkshire, which acts as both investor, incubator and base for the business. Chatta have also been funded through their bank and a private investor who has helped them source other funding. Benefiting from both funds and expertise, Chris recognises that investment is essential for Chatta to maintain momentum and grow.
New markets, new products, same Chatta approach
Demand for our work at the moment is strong, although we remain very new, and we are not as widely exposed as we will be in the coming year.
The potential for technology is not new in education, many of the big technology providers have developed educational products. However, to date they have chosen two traditional channels either to publish content or monitor pupil progress online. Chatta has created a new method of teaching online. This has meant there is no existing market, Chatta have had to rely on early adopters and innovators to take a risk and help them secure market traction. They started locally with schools and nurseries and word soon spread based on their quick effective outcomes. Designed to help children become better communicators, readers, writers and thinkers and based purely on evidence on the ground, Chatta’s approach remains unique.
Chatta are now considering how their approach can be used in areas like staff training, supporting independent living for people with special needs and helping people with dementia. As the demand for conversational, academic, and workplace English grows there is also the opportunity to use the Chatta approach to teach English as a foreign language. Working with the Department of International Trade to internationalise their resources and website, Chatta are close to agreeing their first large contract overseas. Chris is excited, he believes it gives them the chance to disrupt on a wider scale, both in the UK and overseas. This month Chatta was named as one of the world’s most exciting education innovations at a ceremony held in Helsinki by education pioneers HundRED.
There are challenges as well. Chatta will need to keep ahead of the curve, both innovating and delivering an experience that customers, parents and children get value from. They are working hard to keep their content fresh and developing new products all the time. Whilst an online platform they recognise the need to understand new markets and any regulatory requirements required.
Digital is disrupting children’s learning, often the cause of delayed early language development. Chatta recognise this and are using it as the tool to bring together parents, carers and teachers to help children learn in a digital world.
For more stories like these visit www.pwc.co.uk/5daysofdisruption
Chatta is an educational company helping children become better communicators, readers, writers and thinkers. Developed by school teachers , it uses a simple method based on how we think, which can be accessed online or via an app to help students remember more, learn more, and ultimately achieve more. The company, founded in 2017, has 3 employees and contracts with over 100 schools in the UK, as well as schools in Spain, Malaysia, Finland, Canada and Ireland.
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