The London Grid for Learning Trust (LGfL) has appointed award-winning former London Borough of Camden chief information officer (CIO) John Jackson as its chief executive.
Jackson is rated as one to the top 25 IT Leaders in the UK and replaces retiring chief executive Brian Durrant who for 15 years has successfully led LGfL, a not for profit trust servicing over 2,500 schools and over 30 councils in London and beyond.
In his new role Mr Jackson takes over one the world’s largest educational networks and will continue to use that buying power to deliver to schools nationwide award-winning educational content, high speed internet connectivity and associated services at lower costs.
Looking ahead, Jackson is focused on growth and innovation.
“I feel very privileged to lead a not for profit Trust that is all about helping schools succeed and children fulfil their full potential at a time when technology is enabling us to fundamentally change teaching and learning. In my role as CEO I see the acceleration of innovation, at low cost, into the sector as fundamental as well as continuing to deliver low cost, high reliability services.
“I’m also acutely aware of how pivotal some of our “under the bonnet” digital platforms are to education more generally. For example, over 400,000 parents annually rely on LGfL’s systems to enable their online application for a school place and our Free Schools Meal eligibility checker helps parents and schools to secure pupil premium which is welcome additional funding at a time when schools’ budgets are under pressure. I know I need to keep these systems working and secure 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
“Of course, a key part of what we do is in partnership with Virgin Media Business, Atomwide and a range of SMEs and educational suppliers. As part of our growth plans I will be looking at these organisations to help LGfL incubate new products and innovation for children and teachers and will be looking to extend our reach into the home and consumer market where there is a clear business case to do so.”
Alongside his ambitions in support of education Mr Jackson also has a broader vision for developing a London SuperCloud for the public sector as a whole.
“One of the things that excited me about LGfL was that it has been providing cloud services and technology successfully for over 15 years. I want to bring that experience and blueprint to the wider public sector. We already run the secure Public Service Network for London and, at a time of austerity when we need to be more efficient and creative it’s time we built on what works already. So I’m committed to developing cloud services for the public sector as a whole under the SuperCloud initiative.
“This means aggregating digital services so Councils and public bodies do things once rather than many times – which is expensive and inefficient. It means making it possible to share data efficiently so we can help vulnerable people and enable new insights that help solve complex challenges relating to health, education or the environment. It means building a 21st century digital infrastructure for the sector that enables London to be a world centre of excellence attracting digital companies and investment to the capital and generating growth and employment for our children and adults.
“And of course, the great thing for the sector and our customers is that LGfL doesn’t seek to make profits for shareholders, it reinvests back into the sector to make things better. I can’t wait to get going!”