Road to Recovery - Lessons Learnt from Lockdown 

A live, interactive chat show for teachers and school leaders was streamed to just under300 attendees from the state-of-the-art TV studio at Broadclyst Community Primary School on 30 March. Road to Recovery - Lessons Learnt from Lockdown was produced in partnership with the Southwest Regional Schools Commissioner Office and The Cornerstone Academy Trust (TCAT)to provide an opportunity to share best practice and ensure a smooth return to full school and high-quality education

The focus of the event was to build on the investments schools have made in learning platforms, the upskilling of staff and in new devices to enable a new approach to education. 

Hosted by TCAT’s Executive Head Teacher, Jonathan Bishop and Head of Education, Dave James, the show began with a summary from Matthew Stevenson, Deputy Director, South West RSC Office, of the investment the government has made in technology and training. He set the tone for the discussion with his comment that: “Nobody cares about technology in and of itself; it’s about how we use the technology really effectively to improve things.”

In conversation with Matthew Shanks, CEO, Education South West, both Nichola Offer, Assistant Principal, Kingsbridge Community College and Tom Graham, Deputy Headteacher, Coombeshead Academy agreed that there are aspects of remote teaching that they want to build on going forward. These include staff meetings, catch-up for absent pupils, recordings in advance to cover staff absence and revision. Nichola also commented on the advantages of technology for supporting children with SEND, such as using live captions within the classroom for deaf students and working in smaller groups with TAs to meet some children’s sensory needs: “It’s about being able to use the recordings and the live streaming in a lesson but replicating a learning environment that better suits them, reducing their cognitive load in slightly quieter classroom environment.” 

Giles Hill and Peter Bradburn from the Aspire Academy Trust discussed the barriers to implementing technology and shared hints and tips to embed the practice and innovation that was learnt during lockdown. Reinforcing their message, Dr Fiona Aubrey-Smith discussed how the same technology can be used differently by different teachers, different children and in different classrooms“I think my golden message is focus on our individual teachers with as much value as we focus on our individual children.” 

Jennie Walker and Mark Clutsom, CEO and Headteacher from Kernow Learning,talked about the challenges and developments they have experienced with IT in their Trust of 19 schools in Cornwall, while Tim Harris and Nik Rorke from Colyton Grammar, shared their journey over the past three years of implementing a one-to-one device programme:“Technology alone wasn’t going to improve the educational outcomes,” said Tim. “It can be a powerful part of the solution but on its own it’s not the answer. It’s about the application of technology in the classroom.

Speakers also includedGemma PayneDigital Capability Unit Lead, DfE, who talked about the future of the EdTech Demonstrator programme and Chris RothwellHead of Microsoft Education UK,who discussed the upskilling of teachers and the use of hybrid methods of teaching going forward. 

The event ended with a lively panel discussion, summed up by Jonathan Bishop: Positive messages coming out of such dark days; the future is looking bright.

Matthew Stevenson closed the morning by saying: “Thank you to everybody for their contributions today which have been brilliant. The possibilities for the future are so many and varied. The event itself has demonstrated how dynamic technology can be, streaming to people across the country and possibly across the world. My biggest reflection is aboutthe CPD around the tech which is critical, making sure staff and students are confident and empowered going forward. The highlights for me today were people talking about real-time feedback on devices to students, the huge benefits of assistive tech for students with additional needs, and the ability to ensure that students learning in school and at home are seamless.

Watch the recording of the entire morning below: