Institute of Education


VIRTUAL EVENT: Supporting primary learning during the COVID-19 outbreak

14 July 2020, 3:30 pm–4:10 pm

Girl stands beside her father while washing hands at kitchen sink. Photo by CDC

Younger children in particular require help in understanding and adjusting to the ‘new normal’. How is everyone navigating current disruptions while keeping children engaged in learning? Join our experts' discussion in our IOE Coffee Break.

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Kate Thomas

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COVID-19 and the public health measures that have followed have brought huge disruption to all our lives, but younger children in particular require help in understanding and adjusting to the ‘new normal’.

These children will also need relatively close supervision in their learning and development, support that would usually be provided by teachers, in school.

As the uncertainties continue about when all primary schools will re-open and on what basis, how can parents/carers and teachers best support pupils’ progress in their learning? How can they help these children – and themselves – prepare for a new school year that may well still be disrupted by social distancing?

We’ve asked our experts to reflect on these issues and take your questions, encompassing:

  • How schools, teachers and parents/carers are navigating the current disruptions.
  • Maintaining engagement and motivation in learning.
  • Supporting teacher wellbeing.


Image: Photo by CDC via Unsplash

About the Speakers

Dr Alice Bradbury

Associate Professor at UCL Institute of Education (IOE)

Alice is Co-Director of the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Pedagogy 0-11 years.  Her research examines the impact of policy in primary and early years education with a focus on issues of social justice and inequalities.  Her research documents how policies play out in practice and sheds light on the processes within and outside schools that contribute to disparities in attainment and experience. Most recently, she has looked at the impact of SATs on primary schools and the role of maintained nursery schools.  She is currently part of an IOE team researching teachers' priorities during the COVID crisis. 

More about Dr Alice Bradbury

Dr Josh Franks

Lecturer in Early Years and Primary Education at UCL Institute of Education (IOE)

Prior to moving to the IOE in 2014, Josh taught for over a decade in an Ofsted ‘outstanding’ school in inner-city London, teaching across the age range 5-11.  For most of that time he was subject lead for English and supported borough-wide improvements in English provision.  His research interests include the relationship between the teaching and development of children's writing, particularly the growth of individual writer voice.

More about Dr Josh Franks

Dr Sandra Leaton Gray (Chair)

Associate Professor of Education at UCL Institute of Education (IOE)

Sandra is an applied sociology of education specialist and has published extensively on issues of education professionalism, professional training, education policy, the knowledge economy, curriculum, biometrics and children, artificial intelligence in education and conceptions of time in education. 

She has served as an education consultant and advisor to national and international organisations including the UK Government, the European Commission, the International Baccalaureate Organisation and the UK's Royal Colleges of Medicine. Sandy is currently directing the My Life Online research project, investigating young people and their social media algorithms.

Prior to joining the IOE, she held posts at the Universities of East Anglia and Cambridge. Her recent publications include Invisibly blighted: the digital erosion of childhood (2017, with Andy Phippen) and Curriculum Reform in the European Schools: Towards a 21st Century Vision (2018, with David Scott and Peeter Mehisto).

More about Dr Sandra Leaton Gray (Chair)