In these new and uncertain times, pupils will have spent many months away from school due to the closures put in place as a result of Covid-19.
Last year, schools in England were closed to all pupils except those of key-workers and vulnerable children on the 20th March.
For the majority of the summer, most learning took part remotely. Huge strides in online education were made in months that perhaps previously would have taken years. Teachers created learning packs, online lessons and updated communication systems – rising to the challenge of how to educate their pupils without the the essential face-to-face contact and personal interaction.
Then September arrived and the clamour for the reopening of schools returned. Pressure was on for schools to serve their communities once more. Parents were expecting pupils to return to “normal” schooling despite the Covid-19 procedures that needed to be followed…
Now, in 2021, we sit once again in a lockdown with remote learning and home schooling. Children are again missing the interaction with peers and parents are working miracles keeping their schooling going.
As the IFS stated in their opinion piece..
By February half-term, the total loss in face-to-face schooling time will amount to around half a normal school year for children right across the UK. That’s before accounting for lower-than-normal attendance rates in the 2020 autumn term, especially in disadvantaged areas. If most schools don’t go back till after Easter, then children will have lost about two thirds of a normal school year. The difficulties and inequalities in accessing high-quality remote learning are well documented. Pupils from more disadvantaged backgrounds often lack the required digital equipment and study space to participate in effective remote learning. Younger pupils have found it more difficult to engage in remote learning. Schools, teachers and charities – not to mention parents – have gone to huge efforts to do what they can, but there is no substitute for time with a qualified teacher.https://www.ifs.org.uk/publications/15291
But as we look back, we must ask the question..
Has Learning stopped?
Academic Learning Loss
At the start of the school closures in 2020, we created a blog looking at Academic Learning Loss – predicted and historical.
Here we saw that over a period of time away from school academic learning does stop – teachers will need to re-learn where pupils are and work with them.
It is no surprise that pupils will have forgotten learning done before lockdown without the built-in reminders that school teaching brings. Further research through this year has confirmed this.
However, commentators do not expect that this regression will permanently hold students back, or that it will take years for them to recover. Research shows that when you have learnt something and forgotten it, you can relearn it in less time than it took the first time.
This is what we need to encourage and build into our teaching.
As Daisy Christodoulou states in one of the research papers..
“We think that ‘learning decay’ might be a better term for what’s happening here than learning loss.”No more Marking: Baseline Secondary Writing exemplars, 2020–21
It is this “learning decay” that we are now working to challenge and defeat.
But did all learning stop?
As humans, we never stop learning.
We discover something new every day.
It is one of the joys of a new adventure, a new fact, a new discovery.
Learning is the process of acquiring new understanding, knowledge, behaviours, skills, values, attitudes, and preferences. Some learning is immediate, induced by a single event, but much skill and knowledge accumulate from repeated experiences.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Learning
Academic Learning may have slowed but learning never stops.
Pupils will arrive back changed having learned so much over the past 12 months.
Some children will have thrived in a new family bubble – building new self-esteem and new found abilities supporting others and working in different ways. They may have learned an inner confidence that they didn’t know existed, away from the pressures of school life.
However others will have found it a challenge. They may have learned a deeper understanding of what it means to live in poverty, or encountered this for the first time.
They may have learned to hide, to become invisible, to protect themselves from adults who are not safe, without the respite that school can provide.
Some will return to education having made surprising progress, not only in learning of all kinds, but also in terms of their mental health and wellbeing, which are foundational to learning success. Others may have maintained their learning to a degree, but be carrying an emotional burden which will guarantee that they buckle under the pressure of ‘catch up’ programmes. Still others will arrive on shaky ground in all areas, having endured a period of their lives where survival was the only attainable goal.”“The-myth-of-catching-up-after-covid-19”
And now, as they return from another enforced gap from school and the school community, we need to focus on them and begin to learn ourselves what we can do to help.
Rebecca Brooks continues..
“What children need – in fact what society needs – after the pandemic is not ‘catch up’. It is ‘recovery’.
‘Catch up’ implies a narrow emphasis on curriculum goals with a focus on getting all children to the same end point as quickly as possible.
‘Recovery’ acknowledges that the impact of this crisis has been far wider than ‘missed learning’ and that we will need to begin where children are, rather than focus on where we would like them to be, and how to get them all to that same point as quickly as possible.“The-myth-of-catching-up-after-covid-19”
As Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said..
We have some tough days and weeks ahead. But that notion of rebirth – of creating the future we want – lies somewhere ahead. And it will give an extraordinary opportunity to focus on what truly matters.
I have no doubt that schools, colleges, teachers and other staff will rise to these challenges and do everything possible to ensure there is no disadvantage to any pupil.https://www.tes.com/news/when-schools-return-it-will-not-be-business-usual
As educators, we need to commit ourselves to #neverstoplearning about our pupils as we move forward and commit ourselves to challenge their learning decay in the coming months to allow them to continue to realise their true potential.
Put the Personal Back
It is our job as teachers and educators to work with students to enable them to pick up the academic learning required but we also need to #neverstoplearning about them..
We believe that something that is a core ingredient to successful teaching at anytime is even more crucial once schools return after the Summer…. the developing and building up of RELATIONSHIPS.
Never before has the personal connection within education been so needed
We need to put the Personal back.
Every child deserves a Champion
If this year’s exam shambles teaches us anything it is that every individual is important, valued and should be allowed to reach their potential regardless of background, the area they live, personal circumstances and more.
Our job as educators is to inspire, to encourage, to strive for the very best for our pupils..
We must #neverstoplearning how to do this..
We must not allow ourselves to expect any less of them in the long run because of the situation.
As Rita Pearson said in her now famous quote…
“Every child deserves a champion, an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection, and insists that they become the best that they can possibly be.”
A Position of Knowledge
Teachers need to know their pupils to help them succeed. They are the experts in their field and the correct people to be leading their pupils on their learning journey. All research has shown that pupils learn at different rates and will respond differently to different tasks. A teacher takes these points and brings them together allowing each pupil to learn in their own individual way.
As Educators, we need to #neverstoplearning about our pupils so we can strive for them to achieve their very best.
But, as we head back into our schools and classrooms, are we really in “a position of knowledge” or hoping for the best in these unknown times??
Our aim here at DAISI Education is to put teachers in a position of knowledge.
We all want every pupil to be able to realise their potential and overcome the impact of the lockdown and school closures.
Together we can enable pupils to pick up their learning at a point that is right for them and continue working towards achieving and realising their potential.
We encourage you to #neverstoplearning
DAISI Education is committed to supporting schools and pupils.
We firmly believe
Question Level Analysis
Question Level Analysis is a vital and valuable tool for schools to use in the coming months providing key topic evaluation to prioritise areas of focus in the catch up sessions enabling more targeted and focussed individual intervention to take place.
With our Individual Pupil Profiles, Targeted Topic Insight and Detailed Cohort Analysis included as standard, we firmly believe that we can give you the tools to help your pupils Realise their Potential..
“Thank you ever so much for the QLA reports & the subsequent updates. The service we have received from yourselves & the attention to detail have been fantastic. We have found the reports to be incredibly useful & they are helping us to shape our school improvement priorities for the coming year.”
Headteacher, Holy Trinity CE Junior School, Ripon