Sheffield digital publisher Twinkl puts in star performance around the globe

A Sheffield education publisher has doubled its workforce and trebled turnover in the last year as its online resources are used in more than 150 countries worldwide.

Twinkl has a collection of 173,000 digital learning resources available for teachers and parents to download via its website.

Its products range from lesson planning and curriculum overviews, to display materials and posters, to games and worksheets, and are used in almost all primary schools in the UK.

Twinkl’s expansion has already seen the 60-strong team move to new offices at Wards House, in Ecclesall Road.

And it is extending its work space by a further 40 per cent with plans to create 15 new jobs over the coming weeks.

The company’s growth is being supported by Creative Sheffield – a partner in the South Yorkshire Sector Growth Enhancement Programme (SYSGEP).

Creative Sheffield is Sheffield City Council’s economic development function, which is committed to boosting business growth in the city.

Creative Sheffield has helped Twinkl to develop links with other businesses and organisations, including the University of Sheffield and UK Trade & Investment.

Twinkl’s CEO, Jonathan Seaton said the company, is unique in employing teachers, illustrators and graphic designers to develop its huge range of materials, which increases by hundreds of products every day.

He said: “In terms of the visits we have to the site, we’re one of the largest businesses in Sheffield and we have an international following that extends to pretty much any country in the world that has access to the internet and where educationalists are English-speaking or teaching English. 

“Everything we produce is our own and handmade to a really high quality.

“As teachers face increasing pressure, our aim is to save them valuable time and improve their lives, which in turn has a positive impact on the pupils they’re teaching.

“It’s a real privilege to be part of a business that develops some really fantastic products that people absolutely love, because they’re so helpful.

“More than this, we actually genuinely care for our users and want to build and strengthen these relationships.”

Twinkl was co-founded by Jonathan, his wife Susie, and his brother Andrew.

The idea came about through a conversation Susie, a primary school teacher, and Jonathan had about the fact she was unable to find the quality of teaching materials she was looking for online.

Following a phone call to Andrew, Twinkl was born and it became such a rapid success that, in 2010, Jonathan decided to stop practising as a lawyer to lead the company.

The first product designed by Twinkl was a set of sequential cards telling the Easter story.

While Twinkl’s main business is National Curriculum-based materials aimed at primary schools, it develops resources for babies and ‘Early Years’ children through to 12-year-olds. 

The company’s staff includes 12 graphic design apprentices and the new posts will be for more graphic designers, plus teachers.

Jonathan recently attended a week-long business course at the Kellogg School of Management, at Chicago’s Northwestern University, organised by the UKTI.

He said Creative Sheffield’s support was useful as it looked to broaden its scope in the future, either internationally or through new areas of work in the UK.

He said: “It’s just great to have someone to go to who can help make connections for you.”

James Wilson, business growth advisor at Creative Sheffield, said: “The IT, telecommunications and digital media industries in Sheffield have grown significantly in recent years and now account for almost two fifths of that sector’s jobs in the Yorkshire and Humber region.

“Twinkl is an excellent example of the experience and talent in Sheffield that, combined, make it one of the country’s leading centres of digital specialism, and we’re delighted to be able to support the company’s growth.”

Creative Sheffield is part of Sheffield City Council and is the city’s economic development function, with business growth its core activity.

It is funded by Sheffield City Council and is a partner in the South Yorkshire Sector Growth Enhancement Programme (SYSGEP) that is part-financed by the European Regional Development Fund through the Yorkshire and The Humber ERDF Programme 2007-13.

Jonathan Seaton and Twinkl team
Jonathan Seaton and Twinkl team

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