Mike Israel – Customer Success Manager from Education Horizons, recently ran a workshop as part of the King’s School National Boys Conference in Paramatta, New South Wales. The workshop explored ‘How schools are making a positive impact in the new normal’. It unpacked several insights into the challenges that COVID-19 surfaced in the 2021 School Survey Report.

The report illustrates the major challenges and priorities for over 1000 Australian Educators from 600+ schools. The preparedness of schools to transition to remote learning was varied, but it placed a huge strain on the education system and raised many challenges for the sector.

93% of schools found dealing with COVID-19-related disruption challenging to some degree

A key theme discussed in the workshop and our report was the challenge for staff to manage their own wellbeing and maintain work-life balance. However, more importance seems to have been placed on student wellbeing for workshop participants.

Both are a priority but there is a greater focus on student rather than staff wellbeing at the moment. This is an aspect we should possibly review. A lot of the literature suggests that we cannot look after our own wellbeing we cannot look after others effectively.

Student and staff wellbeing will directly affect academics, as a safe and happy staff member will deliver a greater program for the students, which in turn will allow for the students to achieve greater outcomes.

In some ways, the pandemic provided the opportunity to test different learning approaches and to understand how remote learning can be improved. It also highlighted some of the long-term challenges for students with pre-existing wellbeing or learning issues. It forced us to understand better how those students might be better supported.

53% of schools found staying engaged with students learning remotely challenging

In our experience, boys struggle to self-regulate compared to girls. This was very evident during the transition to online learning.

Some subjects suffered more than others as it is harder to facilitate group discussion/debate with online learning.

Success of online learning depends on the focus of the student and their learning needs.

Leaders rated their level of preparedness for remote learning higher than teachers

41% of teachers reported being less than ‘Fairly Prepared’ to transition to remote learning, compared with 74% of School Leaders who reported ‘Fairly Prepared and above.’ Workshop participant responses varied. Some teachers felt prepared, others less prepared. The experience seemed to be quite individual to each person.

Schools are looking for better solutions that can support:

1. tools that support learning differentiation

See our blog on Differentiation or Individualised Learning

2. tools to release feedback on assessment prior to releasing marks

Watch as SEQTA Education Specialist, Kim Edwards, explains why schools are releasing assessment feedback prior to releasing marks, and the value of student self-evaluation. Discover how SEQTA caters to the feedback cycle and drives student learning by helping them see their work through the eyes of a teacher.