IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


VIRTUAL EVENT: What if... our education system changed for good in light of COVID-19? Part 1

18 June 2020, 5:45 pm–6:45 pm

Child watching a teacher give an online class while homeschooling. Image: Julia M Cameron from Pexels

Part 1: Schools. As we seek a way out of the pandemic, how will our schools system need to change and how, ideally, should it change for the future?

This event is free.

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Kate Thomas

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For weeks, schools in England have been closed to all but the children of key workers and the most vulnerable. To a far greater extent than ever before, teachers and parents/carers have shared the task of educating young people. Meanwhile, exams for the ‘class of 2020’ have been cancelled, to be replaced by teacher assessment.

Some groups of learners have faced particular pressures. Those without easy access to the Internet have had to forego online instruction and resources. Learners with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and their families have temporarily lost access to the facilities, expertise and capacity provided by schools, in a system already under strain.

Equally, the needs of the families least able to withstand the pandemic’s impact have exposed the vital pastoral work of schools in their communities.

Sat behind these headlines are very human stories of pupils, parents/carers and teachers all feeling the struggles of separation, from each other and from familiar routines, and concerns to protect health.

Since COVID-19 arrived, where has our schools system been able to rise to the challenge, and where has it struggled? What have we all learnt from having to do things very differently? 


  • Mary Bousted, Joint General-Secretary, National Education Union
  • Jon Coles, Chief Executive, United Learning
  • Natalie Perera, Executive Director and Head of Research, Education Policy Institute
  • Mrunal Sisodia, Co-Chair, The National Network of Parent Carer Forums (NNPCF) 
  • Chair: Sue Rogers, Interim Director, UCL Institute of Education (IOE)

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Julia M Cameron via Pexels