Changing schools in a post-pandemic world
We have seen schools close and reopen, some children remain highly disadvantaged, exams stopped, and restarted and progress has faltered but we have also been given a chance. Possibly a once in a lifetime chance.
What we know now
1. Face-to-face teaching is now recognised as invaluable.
The lockdowns showed everyone, everywhere that we need teachers and face-to-face teaching by skilled, experienced practitioners. Good teachers cannot be substituted with automation. Around the world, families have learned just how important teachers are.
2. Online training for teachers has come of age.
It used to be something of a novelty and not always considered of substance. Now there is a real opportunity for quality CPD to be done quickly and cheaply in a more convenient manner. At the same time, this greater openness to online training creates opportunities for teachers to train others and share their knowledge with a wider audience.
3. It has made us all take a critical look at the value of meetings.
Online meetings can be quicker, more meaningful and have no travel costs. Many of us cut back on meetings during lockdown, learned we could do just as well without so many, liked it and continue to meet less.
4. Schools everywhere can use blended learning to widen the curriculum and cover local shortage.
Online learning is part of school life now. It provides interesting, realistic and exciting opportunities.
There is an opportunity to look at how schools have been organised and ask about the best ways to restructure them. Now is the time to ask the big questions about what we should change in the years ahead.
What we should be asking
Do we really need as many exams at as many ages?
Are the holidays the right length and at the right time of the year?
Is the day the right length for all the children?
Can we take the best from our new tech skills and develop new ways of learning?
Can pupils sit exams more than once without repeating a whole year?
Can school leavers apply to university after they have their results?
It would be marvellous to renovate and rejuvenate our schools after the bad times.
I would like to think that our leaders in education will be asking their own big question at the moment, not just planning that everything somehow stays the way it was.