Exeter-based wellbeing company. Plus-ed, has raised £44,000 in Innovate UK funding to help local school children manage their mental health. Plus-ed founder, Tom Johnson, is an ex-England rugby union player – part of the team that won the Triple Crown during the 2014 Six Nations tournament.
Plus+ is a daily platform, to engage the students and educate them whilst also providing teachers with invaluable information that can be used to prevent issues occurring without adding yet more stress to under pressure classrooms and schools.
It provides pupils with a fun and engaging way to make wellbeing part of their day. It is carried out on an iPad or other device, and focuses on nutrition, exercise, and emotional health.
“One in six children have a probable mental health condition and 50% of mental health problems are established by the age of 14, so we focus on supporting children aged 9-13,” says Tom. “To use a sports analogy, we focus on pre-habilitation rather than rehabilitation – i.e. spotting the early signs of a mental health condition and tackling them before they develop into something more serious.”
Plus provides a safe space for students to reflect on the previous day, helping them to understand the importance of taking ownership of their own wellbeing – whilst providing hints and tips for the upcoming days.
“We understand the roles teachers play in unlocking student’s potential. Plus helps teachers optimise their invaluable time by identifying students who may need help and provides insightful information which can strengthen the teacher/student relationship.”
This approach gives each student a voice and allows the teacher to hear each student throughout the classroom.
“With Ofsted now requiring a Personal Development Plan for each pupil, our platform goes a long way to supporting teachers that are already stressed and stretched for time.”
“For parents, we also provide end of term reports to help them open up dialogue about wellbeing at home.”
Plus-ed’s successful Innovate UK grant application was supported by Innovate UK EDGE Funding Specialist, Adele Reynolds, who helped the company identify the most appropriate funding route.
“Applying for grants was a hugely worthwhile exercise,” says Tom. “Adele challenged me in a very positive way, she identified pitfalls that I hadn’t even considered and helped me to establish a much clearer sense of Plus-ed’s direction of travel.”
“When I’m speaking to parents, teachers, heads of schools and funders, I can now deliver a much clearer message about who we are and what we’re aiming to achieve.”
Adele recommended that Plus-ed applied for an Innovate UK Fast Start grant and provided critical appraisal of the company’s application.
“Adele’s feedback was absolutely critical to our success. We were awarded £45,000 and I can now use the funds to hire developers, build a full web platform and scale the business.”
“Overall, the support from Innovate UK EDGE has been fundamental in preparing Plus-ed for commercialisation. They’ve brought a huge amount of expertise and positivity to Plus-ed and countered the echo chamber effect that solo entrepreneurs can sometimes suffer from.”
Innovate UK EDGE will continue to support as this Exeter business helps schools across the country to build stronger wellbeing foundations.