Who is Simfin?

Naace ICT Impact awards 2013 logo - winner

Naace Impact Award Winner for Leadership ‘ For his commitment to ensuring a safe and supportive learning environment for the education sector’



Speaker Bio:

Simon is a presenter and guide on e-learning, online safety, safeguarding, intellectual-property rights and a wide range of technology and learning related topics. He is a regular conference speaker and consultant for Regional Grids, Universities, Local Safeguarding Children’s Boards, Local Authorities, schools, public services and charities. Simon was the 2013 NAACE Impact Award winner for Leadership “for commitment to ensuring a safe and supportive learning environment for the education sector.” With over 30 years’ experience in UK education and now sharing in the leadership of Northern Grid for Learning, Simon remains passionate and committed to helping learners learn, teachers teach and to making a difference.’

I am Simon Finch.

“Simon is probably the UK’s top expert on E-Safety in the Education sector, he is a popular conference speaker and is always well enjoyed. I’ve known him for many years and we’ve worked together at lots of events. He is an excellent workshop facilitator, and I’ve only ever heard great things about his work. Simon is also great company and a very good friend. I don’t think that there is anyone in the education sector that he doesn’t know, he is definitely well connected and very well respected.” December 7, 2011

Russell PrueAward winning ICT Evangelist, Author & Broadcaster, Anderton Tiger Broadcasting Systems Limited


  • I started my career in 1984 as an English and Drama teacher and later embraced computers and the opportunities offered by the internet to enhance and extend my teaching.
  • In the late 90s I was appointed as an advisory teacher in Durham LA. Exciting times, showing teachers and learners  in schools across the key stages how to access and make use of the internet and education technology and services.
  • By 2000 I had joined the innovative start up company, Espresso, and again presenting to, and training teachers, in the use of digital resources to improve attainment.

“Simon is a pleasure to work with – bundles of energy, motivation and humour – all coupled with the drive, determination and knowledge required to improve the quality of education and technology uses therein. Simon is passionate about what he does – a real, engaging and positive contributor!” December 7, 2011

Richard McGrathGroup Managing Director, Espresso Education Ltd

  • In 2005 I joined Northern Grid for Learning with a specific remit to help schools across the region, and beyond, embed learning platforms in their management and assessment systems, and teaching and learning.

For over a decade I designed and delivered online safety and safeguarding support for organisations who work with young people including schools, colleges, work based learning providers and local safeguarding children boards.



After over 30 years working in the education sector I continue to be passionate and committed to helping learners learn, teachers teach and making a difference.



My keynote at Plymouth University’s international elearning conference was an opportunity to deliver a State of the Nation keynote. You’ll need an hour to watch the session and, if you are engaged by what you see and hear, then you may like to read on..

‘Great talk (Keynote Plymouth University Elearning conference) by @simfin – Something Better Change in education policy’ 

Lord Knight of Weymouth, Shadow Defra Minister in the Lords; consultant on education, technology & welfare. May 2012


If you’d like to see more of the areas of my work, here’s a selection

The purpose of education?

The Importance of IPR, Copyright and Digital Literacy

Learning Platforms

Between the years 2005-2008 I helped teachers and students understand and value the benefits of ‘anytime, anywhere learning’ through learning platforms.

“Simon has a real passion for using technology in education. He has an excellent understanding of how the latest on line web enabled technologies can enhance and transform leaning.

Simon and I have worked in partnership (with Becta) to develop the ADOPT learning platform framework into a platform agnostic tool to support schools in developing and integrating this complex technology. Simon had been instrumental in leading our group (Learning Platform Network – LPN) giving us direction, challenge and practical support.

His infectious sense of humour has enabled a diverse national group of colleagues to collaborate and achieve. The On-line presence of the LPN is directly due to his enthisiasm, expertise and commitment.

Simon is an natural presenter and is a nationally respected advocate of web based technologies and the use of social media in education. His work is, quite rightly, highly regarded and influential.” December 9, 2011

Dave WhyleyHeadteacher Consultant – Learning Technologies, Wolverhampton City Council

Some of my thinking relating to learning plaforms can be see in It’s Not the Tools..

Social Media

Since 2009 I have used socialmedia for my own professional development and to provide online safety support and guidance for individuals and organisations across the world.

“Simon has helped me reflect on my own practice and understanding of both eSafety and the wider role ICT can have in my School.

He is perceptive, forthright and honest in his opinions- qualities which I value.

Simon gets work done on time and to a high standard. His presentations are informative and enjoyable; a great combination for staff development.” December 9, 2011

Carl FaulknerHead teacher, Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council

I understand the value and role of social media and actively engage in communicating ideas and news, in addition to forming and nurturing professional relationships.

I have written several pieces on the role of social networks and the importance of actively managing one’s online identity – including Antisocial Media &  A Guilty Confession

I am convinced that we must use social media with confidence if we are to reach out to our networks and customers. I manage Twitter accounts for Northern Grid and other organisations. I also manage Northern Grid’s Facebook and Youtube accounts.

Digital Literacy

It has been my conviction throughout my career that technology can assist each of us to be the best that we can be. To achieve and even exceed our potential. A common theme throughout my professional life has been the creative use of technology to support  literacy for all.

In partnership with @stevebunce, we have delivered successful innovative learning opportunities for teachers across the region and beyond, including Cluedolit and Storytyne and many teachmeets for local teachers and students.

Conferences, Workshops and Commercial Exhibitions

I have over 20 years’ experience of public speaking at conferences across the UK and internationally. For many years I have worked for commercial companies at BETT Show as an engaging presenter and panel expert.

I share the responsibility for the management of the Digitally Confident conference and through my extensive online network I have consistently sourced an outstanding programme of presenters and workshop leaders.


I am single with 2 grown up daughters and hold UK, and Canadian, citizenship. This means I am geographically mobile and able to work, when required, out of normal office hours.


I’m available for long, and short, term contracts or projects including one day events.

If you would like to, you can contact me by email and on Twitter @simfin

Formal information about me and professional recommendations are on Linkedin

My online safety and digital citizenship site is simfinuk.com

Videos of my work are on my YouTube channel

Thank you for making the time to read this.


What People Say About Me

‘Great talk (Keynote Plymouth University Elearning conference) by @simfin – Something Better Change in education policy’ 

Lord Knight of Weymouth, Shadow Defra Minister in the Lords; consultant on education, technology & welfare. May 2012

‘Thank you so much for coming into school this week.  Many staff have said how much they enjoyed the session on Tuesday, and how much it made them think. There has also been a lot of positive feedback from our parents which isn’t always so forthcoming so it must have been good!

Middle school teacher, February 2017

‘Great session today for parents and teachers. Certainly made me stop and think. Many thanks’

Parent, October 2016

‘Excellent session today. Simon’s delivery of what includes some difficult subject matter was highly engaging. Many thanks and much appreciated.’

Teacher, October 2016

Nothing like I expected. I’ve had basic online training awareness in the past but nothing like this. Well presented, funny, thought provoking and interesting.

Delegate, LSCB training. September 2016

Great cpd tonight(again) by . Can’t speak highly enough, really opens eyes to digital literacy and how important it is in schools.

Primary Teacher November 2015

Absolutely fantastic training! Every teacher, parent, young person and everyone in contact with young people should have this training!

LSCB Delegate October 2015

‘I’ve not met anyone who speaks about online safety in a more meaningful, thoughtful and powerful way than @simfin

Primary teacher, September 2015

‘Simon is an extremely engaging presenter. It is the fourth time I have attended an event hosted by Simon (mixture of staff and student sessions). He never fails to encourage me to think about the challenges our young people face online today, his presentation style leaves a lasting effect.’

Secondary teacher, February 2015

‘Simon was very engaging and delivered the session in a very amusing way! I wish we had the opportunity to listen to him for a few more hours! Absolutely fantastic.’

 PGCE student, January 2015

‘An outstanding after-school session from Simon. It was genuinely difficult to get the staff to go home. Since the session, we’ve had very positive feedback from staff governors and parents. Simon manages to combine brilliant subject knowledge with a genuinely engaging delivery. He has a perfect balance.’

Headteacher, December 2014

‘Simon Finch provided two E-safety training sessions for a total of 240 teachers and support staff from 14 primary and special schools. The sessions were extremely well received and have led to a lot of staff discussion subsequently. Thank you Simon.’

Executive Officer, December 2014

‘Fantastic Elearning course Tues eve. Was looking forward to it like a hole in the head but you were amazing! Very impressive :-)’

Teacher, November 2014

‘Thanks Simon, for a fabulous talk tonight. Rare to have a hall full of teachers after 5:00 wanting more! Passionate & eloquent.’

Headteacher, November 2014

‘Brilliant talk from @simfin – thought provoking and engaging from beginning to end. Such an important topic’

Delegate. ICT Live Conference Newcastle September 2014

‘Most important and inspirational workshop today – digital citizenship @simfin #casneconf ‘

Delegate. CAS NE Conference April 2014

‘Fantastic presentation yesterday!!! I was sad when it was over!!! Best one I’ve seen all week’

‘Really enjoyed your talk at #bett2014 yesterday. Thanks :)’

‘Great talk @Bett_show today on eSafety and Digital Citizenship. Essential stuff for everyone, young and old.’

‘Impressive session and pace by @simfin this afternoon ‘Privacy is Dead’>digital citizenship! Check out simfin.wordpress.com  #bett14.’

‘Absolutely brilliant whistle stop tour on why teaching pupils (& ourselves!)to be digitally responsible is so important!!’

‘Great insight on privacy today, a real eye opener for some. Need to get you into our College for a talk.’

Feedback from BETT 2014 Seminar, January 2014

Very interesting & thought provoking session @simfin on Digital Citizenship. Never heard staff request “more E-safety training” before!

Special School January 2014

 ‘Thanks for refreshingly frank, great quality, forward thinking training today, also love a bit of anti daily mail banter thrown in.’

LSCB course delegate September 2013

Thanks very much for delivering the training session, I had lots of positive feedback from staff last night and this morning and it raised a couple of issues which staff asked for advice on.

 It was great to have the message to all staff that it is everyone’s responsibility.

Senior leader, secondary school. May 2013

‘Hey simon, I’m one of the y8 pupils from St Michaels and I just wanted to say thank you, your speach and slides where really good (your phones awesome too aha ) after your assembly when I got home I decided to delete my other facebook accound and make a new one with only REAL friends, I have stoped caring about how many people I have on facebook and started to focus on how many people I am Really friends with, all in all that was the best E-safety speach I’ve heard because everything is starting to feel repeitive. But Thank you so much, I now have a new perspective of life. Act and Post like your Enemys are watching. thank youuu’

Year 8 Student. March 2013

As one of the teachers who was present at the session I’d like to voice my appreciation for the way Simon conducted this excellent introduction to E-Safety. The level of student engagement in what could have been a boring topic spoke volumes about the level of commitment Simon has for this important element of their education. We used the session as part of a series of six lessons and the feedback we have received from the students has been excellent. Thanks again for an excellent afternoons entertainment.’

Teacher, Secondary School, October 2011

‘..on behalf of the Art Department, thank you for a very informative & entertaining – at times worrying – training session.’ 

Director of Art, Secondary school September 2011

‘A quick note of thanks for your work in NT this afternoon. The PHSCE team have raved to me about the session and its relevance, noting that two delegates who’d arranged to leave early didn’t, because ‘they just couldn’t…’’

LA School Improvement Officer July 2011

@simfin was outstanding tonight on our webinar. Thanks simon I owe you one!’

The University of Dundee  June 2011

‘@billselak @simfin u guys rocked #TMNash Thanks for presenting!’

TeachMeet Nashville USA (via Skype) June 11

‘The feed back from the course was excellent, a lot of our young people expressed the opinion that it was on a level that was suited to them and felt it gave them an extra awareness of the dangers and pitfalls. Simon comes over as enthusiastic and passionate on the subject.’

Work Based Training Provider for Engineers April 2011

‘Your contributions to the conference were definitely amongst the highlights for me. As a student teacher that hasn’t really had the opportunity to experience and get involved with e-safety, your panel discussion was particularly useful. So I say thank you and I hope to see you again at PELC12!’

Student Teacher, Plymouth University Elearning Conference April 2011

Thanks for last Friday’s session – it was excellent with all in attendance buzzing and they were significantly informed about the issues without being unduly alarmed. 
All were keen to try to get you into school to work with the youngsters.  You made a real impact and as ever very impressive and passionate.

LA Advisor  – Training session for secondary ICT subject leaders March 2011

“I have organized a number of staff development sessions over the last few year where there has been mixed feedback both positive and negative.This was not the case with your presentation yesterday,I have heard nothing but positive comments from staff at all the levels in the room such as :”

“enjoyed it,this really opened my eyes”

“the guy was fantastic”

“excellent presenter,excellent presentation”

“made a potentially boring subject extremely interesting”

“frightening world out there I am glad someone has made me aware of it”

“went straight home and took the photograph of myself drunk simulating myself using a Man City top as loo roll off my facebook page,never thought about my students seeing this,Simon has changed my whole outlook”

“as a parent of teenagers this was priceless free advice,brilliant

the film at the end really hit home,very good

Work Based Training Provider 2011

“a superb session with @simfin and my year 13s about online identity. Very engaging and thought provoking!!”

Secondary school 2011

“Thank you for delivering an e-safety presentation to our Years 7 and 8 yesterday.

Having received feedback from both staff and pupils, I am delighted that they all felt the presentation was extremely beneficial.

They all enjoyed it very much, felt the content was excellent, and would like to see this repeated in the future if possible.”

Assistant Head Secondary School – Safer Internet Day  2011

“I felt that you’re presentation will stimulate the individuals attending the session into taking more notice of the influence modern ICT systems and mobile technologies are having on the whole school community and help them make informed decisions on how both teach and demonstrate through best practise, to the student population on how to gain benefit from online systems safely.”

Secondary School 2010

“Thankyou again for you brilliant presentation – I have already recieved some excellent feedback from staff”

Special School 2009

“Thanks again for the positive contribution you have made again to one of our events.. you always add a creative and thought provoking addition to our work.”

Local Authority Advisor 2010

“One of the best workshops I have seen at #pelc10 – jam packed full of ideas discussions and great videos.”

Associate Professor (Senior Lecturer) in the Faculty of Education at the University of Plymouth 2010

“I was lucky enough to be at your excellent presentation at the NE Fraud Forum last week”

NE Fraud Forum 2010

“I thought it was one of the best (entertaining, informative) sessions we have ever had at Senior Staff Forum. He so clearly is very knowledgeable with regards to the subject area & presented extremely well.”

Barnardo’s 2010

“#simfin brilliant presentation”

Sunderland Teachmeet 2010

I thought it was absolutely brilliant.  What a breath of fresh air.  I had a session here in the council with the councils newly appointed safeguarding person, it was a nightmare, she had everyone terrified of their own shadows.  But that session was excellent by any standards.  I think that Simon must have been an inspirational teacher. An abslolute pleasure, and I don’t like going on sessions!  Thanks so much!

I really enjoyed the event it gave us a lot of food for thought some things are easier to do than others but we can work towards them. Simon was an excellent deliverer and would recommend to any one to update their staff on E Safety.

Work Based Learning Providers 2010

“I wanted to say a huge thank you for organising and delivering the fantastic E Safety lessons to our Year 7 pupils.  Everyone was engaged and the materials/resources were perfect for our pupils.  I know from speaking to the pupils involved that they have taken a lot away from the sessions and I have no doubt that changes will have been made to their Facebook/MySpace/MSN Privacy Settings”

Secondary school 2009

7 Responses to Who is Simfin?

  1. […] whois simfin   […]

  2. […] the e-safety panel discussion hosted by Steve Wheeler and presented by Simon Finch (@simfin, https://simfin.wordpress.com/about/), Dan Roberts (@chickensaltash) and Dan Kennedy (@djkennedy), an ICT teacher at The Grange School […]

  3. Paula says:

    Best of luck following your redundancy.

  4. […] have a great deal of respect for Simon Finch (also known as @simfin on Twitter). He speaks very wisely about teachers and children using social […]

  5. lizard100 says:

    Look at you with the sinister photo.

  6. […] Simon Finch said on Facebook when I said Jason had relied to me: “Fab 🙂 It’s odd when famous folk […]

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