Introduction to Education Publishing, SYP Oxford Event

Last night the Society of Young Publishers (SYP), Oxford, hosted their “Introduction to Education Publishing” event, which gave a fantastic insight into the industry. The event was chaired by Charis Edworthy, Events Officer at SYP Oxford and we heard from four specialists working in different roles in educational publishing, the panellists included: Caroline (Cary) Knox, Senior Marketing Manager at Oxford University Press, overseeing the marketing strategy for a portfolio of maths resources for Primary; Prem Hirani, Partnership Manager also at Oxford University Press, managing relationships with schools and MATs (Multi Academy Trusts); Eylan Ezekiel, Senior Product Manager at Pearson, working within the Primary team on the extended curriculum; and Dan Deacon, Editor at Garnet, working on manuscripts for ELT texts.

Over the past year the Education landscape has changed significantly, with learning needing to be conducted remotely as well as in the classroom, teachers therefore have had to adapt their teaching methods and in turn publishers have had to adapt their resources to be able to best support teachers. The panellists noted how internally the teams working on school materials and home materials have merged to work more closely together, and also with regard to supporting parents who may also be doing some of the teaching. The way that publishers work is changing too – Prem mentioned how she used to have a large amount of meetings face to face and attend networking events, but these have now all gone virtual – including events. This has actually helped getting availability to speak to some people who may have been busy otherwise. The focus has been very much on the customer (whether that be a teacher or a parent, or even a student), and they highlighted the important of being agile enough to be able to adapt the publishing to meet customer needs. Cary noted how the pace has changed – with the Department for Education issuing guidelines for teachers that often need to be quickly implemented, in which case they need to be adapting resources to match the guidelines, providing tool kits and supporting teachers any way they can. Eylan added that publishers had made some resources available for free to support schools, and that it’s a period where publishers really need to ensure they listen to feedback, as something that worked well last year does not mean it will work well this year. Dan started his current role in March therefore has been working 100% remotely with a team of people he’s not yet met – it has been really interesting to see how this different way of working can still be very successful.

The panellists all had very different routes into publishing, with transferable skills from teaching, consulting and marketing for other industries all helping them along their career path. Dan and Eylan were both teachers previously and noted how it can be very helpful editorially, understanding the pedagogy and if something will work or not in the classroom, and managing a classroom is an excellent transferable skills for when it comes to managing people, it’s about having the confidence to transfer this skill into a different setting.  They did note, importantly, that teaching experience is most certainly not essential to get into educational publishing, it’s just one route. In marketing for instance, Cary noted how it’s more about having an understanding of the education market itself and there are lots of ways to do this. Cary talked about how before working at OUP she worked in affiliate marketing for mobile phones, which gave her the transferable skills to bring into publishing. Prem also came from a different industry – investment banking where she was a Relationship Manager working on high value portfolios, and after taking a career break and supporting the local Primary school, she realised she was able to transfer her skills into a role as a Secondary Educational Consultant in her area. Prem also had some great advice – ensuring the values of a company align with your own, and that you are passionate about the area and enjoy working in it. If Education is something you are passionate about and you are looking to enter a career in Educational Publishing but don’t yet have the experience, remember how transferable skills and experience can be, and that you can change your career and follow your passion!

A big thank you to the SYP for hosting this insightful event, and also thanks must go to Charis Edworthy for chairing so wonderfully!

If you are interested in working in Educational Publishing, do get in touch with Rhiannon at Inspired Selection who will be delighted to help. Inspired Selection partner with a variety of education focused organisations, EdTech companies and Educational Publishers, working on publishing jobs of all levels and disciplines across the education landscape, whether that be in Higher Education, Assessment, Schools, EdTech, Online Learning, ELT or otherwise.