IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


Learning through disruption: rebuilding primary education using local knowledge

A project exploring how primary school parents, pupils and staff have coped with, and adapted to, a period of prolonged disruption in education, and the lessons we can learn as schools resume.

We know that COVID has had very varied impacts on education in different communities, their schools, staff, families and pupils (Moss et al, 2020).

As primary schools resume more normal functioning, this project will identify what are the most pressing dilemmas, from the perspective of the different members of the school community, and how school staff, parents and pupils are tackling them. This place-based approach will enable the project to identify priorities for government investment that could best meet local needs.

Funder: Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

Project timeline: April - August 2021.


This project uses place-based case studies to assess what kinds of post-pandemic support might be most appropriate for schools operating in different contexts, given their specific dilemmas.

Case study schools have been recruited using a purposive sample to reflect differences in social catchments and likely regional variations in community and school experience during COVID, as well as the most salient networks of support to which they are able to turn.

Each case study includes:

  • Interviews with staff, parents and pupils about their experience of education during COVID and the lessons learnt
  • Documentary collection – to understand the school in its context and to throw light on: actions taken during the pandemic; and priorities in school planning for the summer term
  • Interviews with members of support networks to which these schools turn.

Main report

Policy Briefings



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Further project information

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