Last Updated: Friday, May 22, 2020

Global responses to remote learning and leadership of teams during COVID-19

What is this?

As a result of Covid-19 Scottish education faces great challenges. School and systems leaders are having to adapt to new ways of working especially when trying to lead learning and teams remotely. Along with these challenges there may be positive opportunities to change the way we lead and the way we deliver learning.

It would be easy to assume we were all handling the challenges of this pandemic in the same way. Around the world, educators are facing the same challenges as a result of COVID-19. Looking internationally at research and practice developed in response to the current crisis may allow us to develop our thinking when seeking solutions to issues presented to us within our own contexts.

Who is this for?

This resource is for leaders and educators who are planning and delivering support for learners and teams during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Explore this resource

This web page illustrates some interesting approaches to support that have taken place at an international, national and local level and is by no means an exhaustive list.

International level

  • What Does Remote Instructional Leadership Look Like During a Pandemic? - This blog by Education Week discusses Instructional Leadership in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic giving international examples and links to other pieces of research.
  • The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has recognised that COVID-19 is also a major educational crisis. It has established a Global Education Coalition to facilitate remote learning opportunities for children and young people across national boundaries. Members of the coalition provide examples of free support, tools or services.
  • The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and Harvard Graduate School have published a framework to guide the education response to the pandemic. The framework is a synthesis of 300 responses to a global survey of education response.
  • HundrED Toolkit: Quality Education for all during Covid-19: HundrED has released Quality Education For All During Covid-19, in partnership with the OECD. The toolkit comprises a website and summary report and brings together a collection of simple solutions from around the world to provide support and resources for parents, practitioners and learners and help them navigate a plethora of different types of challenges facing education during the pandemic.
  • The Committee on the Rights of the Child warns of the grave physical, emotional and psychological effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on children and calls on states to protect the rights of children. They ask educational leaders to help mitigate the challenges for children who have limited or no access to technology or the internet or do not have adequate parental support during this time.
  • The ARC Education Project, presided by Professor Andy Hargreaves, brings together the top educational leaders of nations, states, and provinces to advance the principles of broad excellence, equity, inclusion, wellbeing, democracy, sustainability, and human rights in professionally run systems. This is a brief response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its educational implications, to help leaders think and strategise about what to do next.
  • McKinsey & Company, a multi-national leadership and management consultancy have produced a report on the school-system priorities in the age of coronavirus.
  • The Chartered College of Teaching has undertaken research into the effects of widespread school closures, as a result of Covid-19. Education in times of crisis: The potential implications of school closures for teachers and students, considers the impact that both the school closures and the wider crisis may have on students’ academic achievement and socio-emotional development, as well as their impact on teachers. The report makes recommendations for planning school re-openings and summarises approaches taken in other countries across the world.

National level - responses at national government level from around the world

Co-ordinated approaches to online support within particular countries is partly dependent on the digital solutions available to all teachers and learners. In England, for example, whilst 70% of secondary schools and 30% of primary schools have access to their own individual learning platforms, there is no one national service in place.

  • Policy Scotland is working in partnership with Children’s Neighbourhoods Scotland, local authorities and Scottish Government is undertaking research and intelligence gathering to document responses to and the impact of COVID-19 on education, children and families.
  • Wales has its own national educational intranet, called HWB, and has used this to provide advice and support for learning across all schools.
  • The French solution, in the absence of a national intranet, has been to launch an education platform on the France 4 TV broadcast service. This includes a series of live broadcasts, podcasts and videos led by the Ministry of Education.
  • In England, Oak National Academy has been created in collaboration with over 40 teachers to address the coronavirus lockdown. It is an online classroom and resource hub created by teachers from different phases, subjects and areas of the country.
  • The Victoria State Government in Australia has provided direct advice, via its website, around home learning, both on and offline.
  • Similarly, the New Zealand Education Authority has provided guidance for learning at home.
  • In Denmark, schools are beginning to reopen after a five week lock down with new measures in place to maintain social distancing. Danish Head Teacher shares her thoughts on the reopening of schools in Denmark
  • The UNESCO World Education Blog highlights how Greece is coping with school closures by issuing instructions for the use of both asynchronous and synchronous teaching methods as well as providing families with the technology to get online.
  • UNESCO have also produced a report on Alternative Solutions to School Closures trialled by Arab Countries.
  • Reopening of schools in England - The UK Government Department for Education has issued guidelines to support the reopening of early learning establishments and school buildings in England from 1 June 2020. It sets out a number of themes and related key action points.

Local level - responses at individual authority, organisation or school level from around the world

Across the world, individual education authorities, schools and organisations that promote learning have developed their own bespoke approaches to supporting learning at home and supporting learning communities.

  • Coronavirus – The New Normal – Some Home Truths - Paul Mudd, fe news, writes the second in a series of four articles focussing on practical tips, tools and techniques including Six Top Tips For Homeworking and Six Ways you can holistically up your game as the lockdown continues. The 3rd will focus on strategies, approaches and the implementation of corporate mental health, wellbeing and well becoming strategies as we navigate through and beyond the current crisis. With the fourth in the series focusing on what leadership will look and feel like in the new norm.
  • 3 tips for leading a school through the Covid-19 crisis - As school leaders feel scared and isolated Steve Munby says they are ‘stepping up with courage’ and provides three tips to support them in leading a school through the Covid-19 crisis.
  • Barry Carpenter CBE, Professor of Mental Health in Education at Oxford Brookes University and Matthew Carpenter, Principal of Baxter College have written a ThinkPiece titled A Recovery Curriculum: Loss and Life for our children and schools post pandemic.
  • Fife Education and Children's Services Directorate have produced a Sway entitled Learning at Home for All. The supportive guidance and examples contained have been drawn from feedback and discussions with Headteachers, Educational Psychologists, the Supporting Learners' Service, middle leaders and staff.
  • The Scottish Youth Parliament, YouthLink Scotland and Young Scot partnered recently to deliver LockdownLowdown – a survey of 2,500 young people from across Scotland on their concerns about COVID-19. They are encouraging stakeholders to use these insights to feed directly into policy design and service provision in response to the pandemic.
  • In Italy, the Ministry of Education has decided to collect experiences, stories, and examples of interesting practice that come from individual Italian schools.
  • In Malta, the Early Childhood Association has used social media to share approaches to learning at home.
  • Wellington High School in New Zealand has provided teachers and parents with a template for planning around learning at home.
  • In New York City, the Department for Education has developed a remote learning model for all NYC students.
  • Case Study: Kingussie High School – a seven step plan towards a digital school culture published by INTEL might be of use for longer term planning depending upon each school’s circumstances.
  • 6 Tips for Teaching Remotely Over the Long Haul of the Coronavirus - The Principal of a middle school in Hong Kong shares invaluable lessons for how to make remote learning work effectively over the long haul.
  • A Six-Step Online Teaching Method Based on Protocol-Guided Learning during the COVID-19 Epidemic: A Case Study report of the First Middle School Teaching Practice in Changyuan City, Henan Province, China.
  • Leading a school during lockdown - Professor Alma Harris, Deputy Head, School of Education, University of Swansea, shares her thoughts on leading a school during difficult, challenging and unprecedented times and gives a list of top 10 tips to support school leaders. You will also find three video logs relating to the following themes:
    • Leading a primary school in a difficult time;
    • Leading a secondary school in a difficult time;
    • Teachers and leaders supporting local communities.

Note: where a web link is included, this is not an endorsement by Education Scotland. It is intended to illustrate the various range of approaches taken to supporting learning at home during COVID-19. This page will be updated as further examples emerge.

Improvement questions

  • How do I know what the specific needs are of practitioners, learners and families within my context?
  • How have practitioners' strengths in areas such as digital skills been utilised and what provision is available to support their ongoing learning?
  • How am I supporting the wellbeing of the learning community at this time, including my own?
  • What provision am I making for learners and families who have limited or no access to a digital solution?
  • How is my response taking into account short, medium and longer term considerations?
  • How am I working in partnership with others to learn from their experiences and promote a co-ordinated approach to support learning at home?