As this academic year draws to a close, it feels like the right time to reflect on what we as an education community have experienced and our hopes for the future.
Our recent Pearson School Report reveals what almost 7,000 teachers and school leaders think about education in English schools today, as well as how it could evolve for tomorrow.
The answers they shared give a clear picture of schools from the teacher perspective, shining a light on the big issues facing them today and how these may impact on young people as they become adults.
By taking time to listen to what educators have to say, we want to improve the support we offer to young people and schools whatever comes their way – while sharing and amplifying their reflections and ambitions.
Although there are too many insights to fit into just one blog post, here are four key things we’ve learnt from educators.
- Teachers are keen to make a difference beyond the school gates and to the planet itself
Our School Report reveals that half of teachers feel their pupils have become more aware of issues surrounding sustainability and the environment, yet six in 10 do not think the current education system is successfully developing sustainably-minded, global citizens of the future.
However, schools are working to change this by 2024, with six in 10 headteachers planning to take steps to be a more sustainable and eco-friendly school and half planning to teach climate change in the next two years.
- Global events are impacting the classroom
In the last year, teachers have also seen a rise in pupil awareness and anxiety over issues like global conflicts and COVID-19. For example, six in 10 teachers witnessed a rise in pupil anxiety over world events like the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Meanwhile, more than eight in 10 teachers say the effects of the pandemic are still being experienced in their school in terms of pupil absence, staff absence or pupil mental health.
Despite the myriad pressures facing them, more than three-quarters of teachers feel confident in their ability to support pupils with the pastoral issues facing them today. Teachers gave examples of dialling up emotional support for students, offering counselling and drop-in sessions, and fundraising to help pupils and their communities through difficult times.
- They want to develop ‘the whole child’
There is a widespread appetite to consider the ‘whole child’ during their school journey, with eight in 10 teachers saying that pupils’ social and emotional development is just as important as their academic development.
Two-thirds of primary teachers and a third of their secondary counterparts told us that they would like to devote more time to developing pupils’ social and emotional skills each day.
Three-quarters of headteachers are also planning to embed mental health and wellbeing across their entire curriculum by 2024 so that learners can thrive emotionally and academically.
- They want a curriculum that prepares learners for success in the modern world
Looking ahead, teachers made it clear that they wanted to be setting their students up for success in the modern world.
As well as offering more vocational qualifications, more than half of teachers think that a better ‘digital curriculum’ is needed to prepare pupils for an online world.
Teachers also told us they would like to see a range of topics incorporated into the curriculum with as much time and emphasis on them as on core subjects, including core life skills such as financial management and communication skills, mental health and wellbeing, and social skills, including relationships.
To support pupils to thrive in 2022 and beyond, teachers want a national curriculum to develop characteristics like resilience, kindness, self-esteem and tolerance.
Ultimately, our report shows an education community whose collective compassion, dedication and expertise are integral to pupil development – nurturing the children and young people in today’s classrooms, and the communities and workplaces of tomorrow.
And the conversation doesn’t end here. Guided by these reflections and ideas, we look forward to collaborating with, listening to and learning from the whole education community to drive forward positive change and make educators’ hopes a reality.
You can read the full School Report, from digital learning company Pearson, here.
Don’t forget to share your views on education today and tomorrow by tagging Pearson on socials with #PearsonSchoolReport.