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After what has been an extraordinary year for schools everywhere, Blackheath High School and a host of expert speakers joined together on the 13 May for a digital lunch & learn discussion.
Hosted by our Head, Carol Chandler-Thompson, the group considered what the future of education post Covid-19 would look like, examined the lessons learned as well as the digital tools that facilitated learning, and what should be taken forward post-pandemic.
The speakers included Kevin Stannard, Director of Innovation and Learning, GDST, Rose Luckin, Professor of Learner Centred Design at UCL and Director of EDUCATE, Kim Johnson, MP and member of the Education Select Committee, The Lord Storey CBE, Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson for Education and Genna Ash-Brown, Editor of Education Technology.
You can see a recording of our event in the video below.
Our Head, Carol Chandler-Thompson spoke of the pandemic’s impact on the perception of teachers and support staff.
She said: ‘I believe over the years the sense of professional pride amongst teachers and school staff had begun to erode a little, and this has since been restored as the world has once again recognised the hugely important role schools play in the lives of young people.’
Calling for progress now schools have returned, Carol Chandler-Thompson stated: ‘We must take this opportunity to reflect on the challenges we faced, and the opportunities for education prompted by the pandemic.’
University College London’s Professor Rose Luckin added: ‘We need to be positive and tell teachers what a good job they have done. It wouldn’t cost the Government anything to be far more positive about the role teachers have played, and then put action behind their positive work.’
Labour member of the Education Select Committee Kim Johnson called for a focus on the mental health of young people post-pandemic. ‘When the pandemic hit, the [mental health] support wasn’t fit for service. But the pandemic has put that into perspective, and the NHS has put more funding in. We need to look at how young people can be supported going forward in terms of attainment and mental health.’
Dr Kevin Stannard called for exam reform in schools post-pandemic, saying: ‘This is a huge opportunity, and it would be very disappointing at the end of this, that policy changes aren’t made with lessons in mind, particularly with exams. Life can go on without a battery of formal assessment, particularly at the age of 16.’
Speaking on the role of education technology in classrooms now schools have returned, Genna Ash-Brown added: ‘Tech brings big wins for the inclusion of everyone across the sector. There really is no going back and I think a mixture of online and in-person structure will help shape the future of education.’
A huge thank you to the many members of the education sector, parliamentarians, journalists, parents, NGO representatives and everyone else for attending our event.