IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


Reports and publications


Report 1. Primary teachers’ experience of the COVID-19 lockdown: Eight key messages for policymakers going forward

This report is based on a survey of 1,653 primary teachers in state schools in England. The survey was conducted for us by Teacher Tapp during May half-term 2020, just before schools started re-opening.

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We asked teachers about their experience of working during lockdown, at a point when schools were only open to children of care workers and vulnerable children. We wanted to know:

  • what they had been doing
  • what they saw as the key challenges in responding to their communities’ needs and how they had met them
  • whether and how this had shaped their thinking about what should happen next in education.

The results show that the COVID-19 crisis has underlined the vital role primary schools play in keeping children fed and safe, as well as helping children learn. Many teachers want to reset the educational agenda going forward, in recognition of the uneven impacts of the crisis particularly in our most disadvantaged communities.

Report 2. Learning Loss versus Learning Disruption

This systematic review of the literatures on learning loss and learning disruption, using 'rapid evidence assessment' principles, concluded that the literature on learning disruption after unplanned events such as natural disasters is more helpful in planning for school resilience post-COVID in the UK than the research on learning 'lost' over the annual summer holidays.  In particular the literature on learning disruption emphasises the importance of recognising the value of school leaders' knowledge of their local communities and the specific impacts extended disruption to schooling has had for them. The literature on learning disruption suggests:

  • that without tapping into this kind of local knowledge, recovery plans based on interventions designed at some distance from the school may be misdirected
  • that the most appropriate response to resuming education after an extended period of disruption is to create time: to re-pace and adjust the curriculum to an ongoing assessment of pupils' needs, which may not be immediately obvious or readily measured with any accuracy right away
  • Pedagogy will be strengthened by integrating learning and wellbeing
  • and that staff's needs will need consideration as well as the pupils'.   

Planning should be guided by an eye to the longer term, and not thought of as a quick fix.

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Learning disruption or learning loss

This publication details the systematic review conducted on learning disruption and learning loss, arguing that the literature on learning disruption is more relevant to education post COVID:

Key findings are:

  1. that school leaders’ local knowledge is pivotal in leading a return to school,
  2. that the curriculum as schools re-open needs to be responsive to children’s needs and
  3. that schools are essential in supporting the mental health of students.

A discussion of the applicability and utility of these findings is provided in light of emerging evidence of challenges faced by schools in the context of an ongoing global pandemic and the disruption to education it continues to create.

Key recommendations for schools on COVID recovery

Our written evidence to the Education Select Committee inquiry outlines eight key messages and eight recommendations for schools, for system leaders and for policymakers on how schools can plan to become more resilient in the year ahead. This matters given the likelihood of ongoing disruption. 
Insights gained from listening to teachers and their accounts of the dilemmas they have faced during the pandemic have shaped our recommendations. We hope it will prove useful in planning for the year ahead.

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Professor Gemma Moss, Principal Investigator for the project, said: 

"The COVID crisis has revealed how far poverty shapes opportunity. We can’t wave a magic wand and pretend it never happened. We can plan for a fairer and more resilient education system going forward. The current approach to testing and accountability in England penalises rather than supports schools working with our most disadvantaged communities. It’s time to do things differently.”