It would be fair to say that COVID-19 has turned education on its head.
And in the 30 years I’ve worked in education, never have I seen schools, families, businesses and the wider sector come together so powerfully to support learning. The countless examples of people going above and beyond have been truly inspiring.
Despite the pandemic continuing to loom large, it is possible to reflect on what learning over lockdown has taught us, and what it might mean for the future of education.
Here are a few things that have struck me:
Digital is here to stay
From remote video lessons to online platforms and learning apps, digital and online learning has been a fundamental feature of lockdown-schooling. Pearson’s online lessons and maths school have supported half a million students over lockdown.
Digital learning is here to stay, but what does it mean for teachers? It’s not simply about adding technology to existing practice which has been designed for a physical classroom, but about understanding the advantages a digital approach provides. Opportunities for individualised learning pathways and the greater flexibility in the time, place and way students learn can be realised through a digital environment.
The importance of assessment
The cancellation of this year’s exams has reinforced the value of different kinds of assessment and the importance pupils place on demonstrating what they can do.
Looking forward, both formative and summative assessments have significant roles to play. In the wake of such disrupted learning, formative assessment will be crucial in helping teachers best support their pupils.
Innovations in technology and learning will make assessments more accessible and inclusive, enabling teachers to gather a detailed view of every student's performance including those with SEN and differing learning needs.
Happy and healthy school communities
There’s no doubt that these unsettling times have had a significant impact on people’s mental health and wellbeing.
It’s crucial we not only focus on academic progress, but work together to foster a culture of positive wellbeing and mental health. A priority must be to build healthy and happy schools where learning can take place effectively.
The interest in our Wellbeing Zone, a space with free resources ranging from advice on coping with anxiety, to mindfulness and resilience-building techniques for teachers, parents and students, has demonstrated that this is at the forefront of peoples’ minds.
Continued collaboration - the village behind every child
The pandemic has highlighted the power of collaboration - how people, sectors and communities have come together to support one another through challenging times.
The same can be said of education and the village of people and organisations who care about children’s learning and who strive to support it in whatever way they can.
Now, more than ever before, it will be important for us to harness these networks, remove barriers to learning and ensure that children can aspire and achieve without limits following this period of significant upheaval and loss.
At Pearson, we’re committed to continuing to collaborate as we navigate this ‘new normal’ together.