Sir Anthony Seldon Launches AI in Education – Britain’s First School-Led Initiative To Harness AI For The Benefit of All Learners

16/10/2023
Sir Anthony Seldon

AI IN EDUCATION is Britain’s first, and a globally pioneering, cross-sector body committed to ensuring AI benefits everyone involved in education – from students (especially the most vulnerable), teachers and governors to parents and the wider society.

It is independent, not for profit, and has been developed by teachers themselves to ensure the interests of young people will always remain central as AI develops and advances at a quicker rate of technological change than we have ever seen in education.

AI in Education is launched by Sir Anthony Seldon, Head of Epsom College and Alex Russell OBE, CEO of the multi-academy Bourne Education Trust. It is borne of the belief that if schools are to optimise the benefits of AI, they need to seize control of the conversation themselves and provide real time, specific and informed advice to the sector.

The body that runs AI in Education is composed of leading teachers in schools from all sectors and levels and the Heads of the UK’s examination boards, chaired by filmmaker and Parliamentarian Lord David Puttnam. Our work is guided by a panel of independent digital and AI experts and a cross-party group of senior politicians who will advise schools on which AI developments are most likely to be beneficial, and which damaging.

AI in Education’s 100 founders also comprise some of the UK’s leading scientists and technologists, including the Astronomer Royal, Lord Martin Rees plus AI specialists from Google, Cambridge University, the Alan Turing Institute, the British Academy and Accenture.

World-first

“This unprecedented coming together of leading figures from across education is on a scale never seen before,” says Sir Anthony Seldon, Head of Epsom College. “The launch of AI in Education is highly significant. It is a world-first and will ensure that we maximise the vast benefits of AI across education while minimising the very real and present hazards and dangers.”

“Schools are bewildered by the fast rate of change in AI, and seek secure guidance and counsel on the best way forward. But whose advice can we trust? The truth is that AI is moving far too quickly for government or parliament alone to provide the real time advice that schools need.”

With AI in Education, the education sector itself – guided by some of the sharpest minds in politics, business, technology and psychology – will offer schools, teachers, parents, students and governors the very best advice on how to ensure that AI technologies are in the interests of all, but particularly the least advantaged, the disenfranchised, and those with learning difficulties.

“It will be a fight,” says Sir Anthony, “and it will be a fight teachers have to win in the interests of the young, and society at large. For too long, we have passively allowed the tech industry ruthlessly to pursue market penetration at all costs under the guise of advancing young people’s opportunities and interests. Global tech companies have competitively bid against each other to gain young people’s attention and have exploited them and – in the absence of the industry’s willingness to regulate itself, or parliament’s and government’s ability to keep ahead of it – this has laid waste to a generation of young people. Never again. AI in Education will help ensure AI will be far more sensitive to young people’s mental health, wellbeing, and genuine educational interests and opportunities. This initiative is an uprising by educators to wrest control from the tech companies in the interests of all.”

AI in Education will seek to mitigate the risks – which include cheating, infantilisation, and abuse – by providing guidance, advice, real life case studies, political lobbying, and commentary to ensure that AI supports deep learning, the growth of human intelligence, the development of curiosity and respect for truth and for others.

AI in Education launches today with a website (www.ai-in-education.co.uk) offering advice, resources and cases studies for those working in all educational settings. The website will be updated regularly as new products, issues and opportunities arise in this fast-moving climate.

A conference, to be held at Epsom College on 22 November 2023, will then be followed by a rolling programme of activities that provides focused support and guidance to all those working within the sector.

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