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Allegory project managed a data-driven research project resulting in a story that enabled the Open Data Institute (ODI) to engage directly with key stakeholders and the public, through mainstream media

The brief

Allegory was challenged by the Open Data Institute (ODI) to deliver a research-based news story that would raise the profile of the ODI and highlight the value of shared and open data to cast new insights into the most pressing challenges of our time. 

Our response 

Working alongside the ODI, we crafted a hypothesis around the impact of Covid-19 on children’s lives during the pandemic and managed a research project with seven partners (including Mumsnet and Barnardo’s), who analysed 17 data sets and surveyed 6,500 school teachers. 

The data analysis indicated that school pupils were falling behind, parents were suffering unprecedented levels of stress, and teachers were overwhelmed; 69% of teachers felt that one fifth or more of their class were behind in their learning. 

We then delivered an extensive stakeholder outreach programme, contacting 60 influential organisations including teachers’ unions, universities, Citizens Advice, the Department for Education and Department for Work and Pensions, to encourage them to support the publication of our report on social media, on the day of the Summit. 

We drilled into the report to find hard-hitting stats for the media, sourcing pupils, parents and teachers up and down the country who were willing to tell their story through case studies and interviews. We prepared supporting blogs, Q&A’s for the press conference and a launch video for the ODI’s 2020 Summit on 10th November. The Sutton Trust, who have 51k followers, retweeted the ODIHQ tweet containing a video of Louise Burke, and added their own supportive comment, as did Reema Patel from The Ada Lovelace Institute.

The outcome

At the ODI Summit, the launch video for the report directly reached over 1,000 influential data leaders and experts and policymakers from 72 countries, including senior representatives from the Department of Culture Media and Sport, Office for National Statistics, Ofqual, Department for Culture Media and Sport, VISA, Mastercard, Ocado, GDS, Innovate UK, Higher Education Statistics Agency, and the National Lottery.

We secured quality national coverage in the Financial TimesThe MirrorComputer Weekly, BBC Teach and other education publications and a lead story on BBC Midlands Today, including an interview with ODI Head of Public Policy Dr Mahlet (Milly) Zimeta, with an overall audience reach of 25.5 million.

In the first week alone the report was viewed 700 times on the ODI website. 

On the back of the flagship story, the teaching union NASUWT expressed an interest in the ODI’s work and a desire to make better use of data in the education sector. The ODI have subsequently worked with the NASUWT on a follow-up flagship report looking at data on teachers’ lives during the pandemic, published in March 2021.

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