According to research conducted by King’s College London, disruptions caused by COVID in the school years 2019–20 and 2020–21 might result in a shortage of experience among staff members who were educated at the same time. This could lead to an increase in the number of early-career instructors quitting the field.
That might have an effect on the level of education attained by young individuals whose schooling was disrupted during the pandemic.
The research project, which lasted for a total of 18 months and got underway in April 2021, was based on two groups of trainees who were enrolled at King’s, in addition to 112 interviews with trainees, school officials, and mentors.
When the pandemic hit in February 2020, there was a “rapid and abrupt” transition to working largely online for the first cohort, which had “markedly different experiences,” the study found.
Even though students could finish their school placements, they couldn’t switch schools, and the second group of students who started training during the epidemic had to do almost all of their university courses online.
Some parts of training during the virus outbreak were good; the study claims trainees were able to strengthen their IT abilities, while school and university personnel complimented the “resilience” of trainee instructors, which would make them better teachers overall.
However, the pandemic also reduced the number of possibilities for face-to-face encounters with students and parents, which made it more difficult to provide pastoral care.
According to the article, teacher-student interactions were harmed due to a lack of “opportunities to interact with pupils outside of subject-specific teaching.”
During the pandemic, several interviewees said that there was a stronger sense of school community than usual. On the other hand, other trainees reported feeling “isolated from the wider school community … and so were potentially less invested”.
According to the findings of the study, new teachers should be given more opportunities to become involved in other aspects of school life in order to hone their pastoral abilities.
In addition, schools should look for ways to help new teachers and trainees better understand mental health issues, such as via online training from the charity Place2Be.
The study’s results also showed that some trainees left the field after finishing their training because they were having trouble making ends meet.
King’s School of Education, Communication and Society and the Policy Institute published a study in which they claim that the specified material of induction programs is sometimes too general for new teachers to adapt to the needs of the pandemic, and they urge customized professional development for these new teachers.
Lead researcher Simon Gibbons, head of Teacher Education at King’s College London, said: “The pandemic affected each new teacher in different ways and so the current generic approach fell short of what was needed.” “It is crucial we provide more bespoke training that reflects the unique challenges and opportunities they faced, so we can support them to stay in teaching—especially seeing the dramatic shortage of teachers in the UK.”
Elizabeth Rushton, of the Institute of Education at UCL, added: “Those who have become teachers during the pandemic period have made an important contribution to the learning and lives of young people in their school communities.”However, in order for this group of teachers to flourish they need continued support, especially with the pastoral elements of teaching so that they can develop their skills and expertise alongside more experienced colleagues.”
Sarah Steadman, a study associate, added: “Despite the challenges, those teachers who trained during the pandemic demonstrated incredible resilience. Their unique experience and skills need to be fully utilised as they have so much to offer.”
A Department for Education spokesperson said: “We are putting in place world-class training to ensure teachers have the professional development needed to thrive, and our reforms will create a golden thread running from initial teacher training through to school leadership, rooting teacher development in the best available evidence. “We will deliver 500,000 teacher training opportunities by 2024, giving all teachers and school leaders access to professional development at every stage of their career.”