Ahead of the wider reopening of schools Edurio CEO Ernest Jenavs shares his thoughts on how schools can build forward stronger after covid-19 disruption.

Schools are now days away from opening to all pupils. While it will take quite a bit more time to get past the disruption caused by Covid-19, seeing children excitedly rushing back to school will be the first step on the way back to normality for many school leaders. But we should all make sure we do not go back to normality, because that is still going back. Instead, school leaders can use this opportunity, taking an evidence-based approach to build forward stronger.

When we carried out research on the impact of Covid-19 with 45,000 pupils, parents and staff members, we found high variation across the respondents. There were elements of the experience that stakeholders praised and hoped would continue in the future such as virtual parent events, use of technology to diversify learning and flexible working. A minority of pupils actually reported better progress due to lack of distractions and travel time loss.

We don’t have a clear answer yet on whether the future is “blended”, “hybrid”, “mixed” or whatever other fancy term we can come up with, but we do know that thousands of schools have carried out thousands of experiments in providing learning differently. As schools return to in-person learning, we should not lose the knowledge of what has worked. We urge every school leader to gather feedback from your stakeholders on how they are doing and how the school or trust can learn from the last year of disruption. Perhaps there are even more radical changes that innovative school trusts might be able to implement!

By gathering such evidence, every school can look forward with the confidence that this time, although difficult, can contribute to a better education experience in the future. Whether you use surveys or just gather stories from your staff, pupils and parents, here are the five reflection themes you should consider exploring:

  • What have the main challenges been for our stakeholders during the last year? Which of these can the school prevent in case of future disruption?
  • What learning methods have pupils appreciated the most? Which ones do we want to keep?
  • How are our pupils doing in terms of well-being? Where do they need the most support over the next year?
  • How do our staff prefer working in the future? What elements of the disruption should we maintain to ensure a more efficient working environment?
  • How has parental involvement supported the learning of our pupils? How can we retain parents as partners in learning going forward?

To access all of Edurio’s research for free, including our reports on covid-19 disruption, click here.