Schools adjusted to COVID-19 shocks, research shows
Independent school communities generally were satisfied with the way their schools adjusted to the disruption of COVID-19 lockdowns and the imposition of remote learning, new research has found.
At the same time the research, conducted by Independent Schools Victoria, highlights concerns about the impact of remote learning on the wellbeing of students, particularly those in senior secondary years.
The research is based on the responses of almost 23,000 school staff, students and parents to the LEAD School Effectiveness Surveys undertaken by ISV.
Analysis of the surveys shows staff and parents believe schools generally fared well in adapting to the online delivery of education during mandatory lockdowns last year.
Overall, there was a high level of satisfaction with the resources and support provided by schools to support remote learning.
But responses varied, reflecting the diversity of Independent schools, the communities they serve and their widely different levels of resources.
Schools that had technology and flexible systems in place before the pandemic naturally fared better. But some schools serving lower socio-economic communities struggled during remote operations, with a negative impact on student learning.
“Schools and their staff have shown high levels of flexibility and resilience at a time of extraordinary pressure ... but clearly this cannot replace face-to-face teaching and learning.”
— Michelle Green
While the research shows schools adjusted well and teachers generally had the tools to adapt to online delivery, many students found remote learning challenging.
In particular, Year 12 students who experienced a reduced sense of belonging, connectedness and wellbeing, were the least satisfied of all of those surveyed.
ISV Chief Executive Michelle Green said the research contained encouraging news about the ability of autonomous Independent schools to adapt to sudden shocks.
‘Schools and their staff have shown high levels of flexibility and resilience at a time of extraordinary pressure,’ Ms Green said.
‘The adoption of digital technology suggests hybrid models could be an enduring legacy of the pandemic.
‘But clearly this cannot replace face-to-face teaching and learning. It’s also clear that there’s a need to continue to pay close attention to student wellbeing.’
ISV Media and Communications Advisor
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