Jen Lexmond Easy Peasy
David Cameron has described my research as ‘one of the most important findings in a generation’.
How are you Upgrading Learning?
EasyPeasy is a coaching app for parents of young children, that supports them from the birth of their child until they reach their school gates. By five years old we can already largely predict the future health, wealth and wellbeing of a child. The gap in a child’s development also looms large by a child’s fifth birthday. Half of children are‘not ready’ to start at school by this age, and with disadvantaged children the age percentage rise to two-thirds of children.
Isn’t it odd then that formal education starts after this crucial window has closed? EasyPeasy has been designed in partnership with parents and educators to respond to this problem.
Why are you the team to do it?
I spent 5 years working at the juncture of academia and government research. Advocating on the importance of the early years in a child’s life.
David Cameron has described my research as ‘one of the most important findings in a generation’ and ‘a new law for social mobility’. I’ve also spent a few years leading digital transformation projects for the public and third sector at Government Digital Services and at Nesta.
My team at EasyPeasy includes Professor of Educational Psychology, Kathy Sylva, who is leading efficacy trials of our product, Gemma Bull who has fundraised for and delivered multi-million pound parenting programmes across the UK, and an awesome team of technical advisors who have day jobs in places like Facebook and Time Out.
What stage are you at?
Our mission is to support the 3 million parents across the UK with a young child between the ages of 0–5. To do that we have developed a B2B product that we license to early organisations. They then share EasyPeasy with parents in their community, for free.
Starting with local authorities and their children’s centres, we are currently piloting EasyPeasy across 20 settings in Bournemouth and Newham. We are also now actively building our understanding of the PVI nursery sector. Next we will turn our attention to primary schools and academy chains.
Evidence is at the heart of our development: a feasibility study conducted in 2015 showed that parents who use EasyPeasy play and interact more with their children. Their children also improve their ability to stick to rules and routines at home — both of these are important indicators of child development. Through working with Oxford University, we are strengthening our evidence base.
What are the top three things you hope to accomplish as a part of the accelerator?
Through Emerge, our ambition is to raise a seed investment round that will allow us to:
1) Expand our development team and increase the rate of product development,
2) Develop new content to expand from our current focus on 3–5 year olds to birth-5 year olds
3) Support a PR and marketing campaign to drive our growth and revenue
And very briefly — first impressions of the accelerator so far?
The Emerge accelerator does what it says on the tin: I feel like I’m in front of a steam train that’s pulled out of the station and is making up for some serious lost time.