The pandemic has dramatically changed the landscape of school education and the nature of the relationships that underpin it.
Under significant stress, parents, teachers and school leaders have had to renegotiate their terms of engagement; parents have had to step into roles previously ‘outsourced’ to professionals, and teachers have had to find new ways of working.
At the same time, young people have become less engaged – and more dependent – than ever, their experience varying dramatically according to factors completely out of their control.
There is now an opportunity to rethink how schooling is done, who delivers it, and what it seeks to achieve.
A qualitative research model to explore the hidden dynamics of the school system.
The Relationships Foundation is listening to the authentic voices of young people, parents, teachers and leaders and their experiences of lockdown.
Their discussions are framed to explore key parts of the current education and learning system; for example, what parents found when they tried to engage with their child’s curriculum more closely, how the cancellation of exams has changed the way people perceive of assessment, and how the nature of lockdown has changed people’s view on what children need to thrive.
The team will ensure that it is the community’s voice itself that is heard, rather than those who all too often speak on their behalf. This will provide a snapshot of how participants feel at this particular moment in time.
Work in action
The Relationships Foundation wants to build a thorough understanding of how young people, parents and teachers relate to the education system.
By doing so, they aim to provide key data to inform system transformation, to enable all young people to thrive in life, not just exams.
“This shutdown experience has marked a shift in parents both appreciating what schools do, and also understanding what they need to be doing better – namely engaging us as parents and treating us like adults rather than ‘mum’ and ‘dad’. I want to be seen as a partner by the school rather than an annoying parent who needs to relax and trust the teachers.”
Parent of a primary school-aged child.
The big changer
Ben Gibbs, Head of Programmes
As Head of Programmes, Ben Gibbs ensures the Foundation’s projects run smoothly and deliver against expectations. He has taught and worked in educational policy and assessment, and consulted on curriculum, leadership and organisational strategy. He holds postgraduate qualifications in teaching, educational leadership and organisational consultancy.