Twinkl was founded in 2010 by Jonathan and Susie Seaton with the mission to help those who teach. The idea for Twinkl came when Susie was working as an Early Years teacher and couldn’t find the materials she needed for her lessons online. Spotting a gap in the market, the couple challenged the status-quo for teaching resources at the time. They pushed away from traditional publishing and started creating high-quality, digital resources from their spare room. With that, Twinkl was born.
In just 10 years, and with the founding mission still at its core, Twinkl has grown into a global business, operating in over 200 countries and regions around the world. They now provide over 640,000 trusted learning materials to over 7.8 millions members, which are all teacher-created and checked.
The materials range from schemes of work and assessments to online educational games and applications. Product lines include handwriting and phonics schemes, a book club, a newsroom for children and much more.
Why did your business decide to apply for a Queen’s Award for Enterprise?
We were over the moon to receive a Queen’s Award for Enterprise for International Trade in 2018. Winning the award boosted morale across the team and resulted in some wonderful recognition and unforgettable moments. This included a visit to the Sheffield-based HQ from the Lord Lieutenant of South Yorkshire Mr Andrew Coombe.
This achievement encouraged us to apply for the award again, this time for innovation. Ultimately, we felt that it would be the highest honour to be recognised for our commitment to providing innovative solutions, alongside our efforts to help educators globally.
As Twinkl has grown, innovation has always been at the forefront. We never innovate just because we can or because something new is available, but because we see the potential an idea has to help those who teach and improve a child or young person’s learning experience.
Our teams consult the teaching community before creating any new products and many of our innovations are developed in response to a need that has been highlighted to us directly by educators. We felt this put us in a good position to enter the award for innovation and we are delighted with the results!
What has winning the award meant for your business and staff?
The team is incredibly proud of the innovations that Twinkl has provided to educators to date but winning the award has really demonstrated the quality of the work they are delivering and the value of taking the approach they do.
Our mission has always been to help those who teach, which the team works hard to deliver on each and every day. Our entry particularly focused on TwinkPlanit, which was created by Twinkl in response to significant changes to the National Curriculum for England in 2014. It provides everything an educator might need to address the aims of the 2014 curriculum, including detailed lesson plans, home learning tasks, formative assessment material and more. Twinkl PlanIt continues to be hugely popular for our Twinkl members - and we’re so pleased it is still helping educators to this day!
Receiving the award reminded the team of the impact their work has and everyone is very proud to be part of a team that has now been recognised through two Queen’s Awards for Enterprise, in different areas.
For us, receiving a Queen’s Award for Enterprise for Innovation has reiterated that we are on the right path. It has given us the motivation to continue delivering the best that we can for educators and focus on what matters the most - helping those who teach.
How will winning the Award benefit your business?
Since our Queen’s Award for Enterprise for International Trade, we have grown our international presence considerably. We’re proud that Twinkl is now used in over 200 countries and regions and that we are able to support so many educators worldwide, seeing key growth in the Republic of Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, the United States and the UAE.
Our award in 2018 was a huge encouragement for us to continue developing our global presence. The global standing that the Queen’s Award for Enterprise has around the world has greatly supported our outreach and has been an enormous benefit. Therefore, it goes without saying that we are excited to see where this latest award will take us and what opportunities it will open up.
Ultimately, the award has given us a new opportunity to recognise the value of our team and our members. It is through the perseverance of our team that we have been able to take Twinkl’s mission to help those who teach around the world. They are dedicated to fulfilling the diverse needs of internationally based educators and supporting different cultures and markets. The team constantly asks themselves, “is this the best that we can deliver?”, and we believe that our awards are a reflection of this commitment.
But, we never lose sight of the fact that Twinkl’s success is because of the educators around the world who inspire us every day. Twinkl’s growth would not be possible without their continued support and we thank each and every one of them for enabling us to take our mission worldwide.
Do you have any advice for future Queen’s Award applicants?
As a company honoured with two awards, we strongly encourage other ambitious and enterprising businesses to apply for a Queen’s Award.
Something that makes applying for a Queen’s Award particularly worthwhile is that they are not only received by large, long-standing corporations. Many of the winners are small or medium-sized businesses and those that have made a big impact in a short amount of time.
The application process is not short; it requires time and input from various people and business departments, but coming together to apply for such a prestigious award is extremely rewarding. Getting input and support from team members in different departments and roles to review achievements, outline key successes and reflect on past failures really helps to find the information that will strengthen your entry. They can also offer different perspectives and things you may not have considered otherwise.
Receiving a Queen’s Award is an incredible experience. It is something that the Twinkl team, both in the UK and across the world, are extremely proud of and we’d wholeheartedly encourage other businesses to give the application process a go too.