Carnegie Education

Through and beyond the pandemic; implications for supporting the teaching profession

The pandemic has shed light on the role of education networks and the need to feel supported.  As leaders and teachers adjusted to the new normal official guidance was often hard to come by, policies and practices were constructed on the hoof and adjustments were made down the line.  Spaces opened up to develop new ways of working, and some educators had more capacity and confidence than others to occupy these spaces.  At times it must have felt like a race, and at other times it was probably a relief to see a peer get one step ahead and forge a way that that they could mentor you through.  

Some existing working relationships were strengthened, and lots of peer support was offered, but others contracted.  Student teachers and NQTs had mentoring interrupted. CPD and coaching went online.  The profession stepped in and started to look more self-improving than ever. At the same time, it became even more evident that teachers and school leaders have lives beyond work and cannot be expected to sacrifice these for an unsustainable system.

As we move beyond the first stages of the crisis there is an opportunity for genuine professional growth, based on learning from our shared experiences during the pandemic, building new networks and ensuring that all educators can be better supported. Enhanced mentoring and coaching and professional collaboration can make a real difference.  The cracks revealed during lockdown illustrated the need to see every leader and every teacher as an individual, whatever stage they are in their career.

This is where coaching and mentoring work best. Good coaches and mentors recognise and build on each person’s own experience and on their expectations. They see their unique vulnerabilities and responsibilities. They work with their enthusiasms and hopes for the future and they support them to support others through education.  

This short blog is the transcript of an animation written by Rachel Lofthouse which produced and published by The Chartered College of Teaching on their The Education Exchange website.  This animation can be found amongst other resources under the theme ‘Professional learning for the 21st century’.  Two colleagues from our CollectivED partners Growth Coaching International, Chris Munro and Christian van Nieuwerburgh are also featured, as is Bethan Hindley who is a member of the CollectivED Advisory Board

For more information on CollectivED, including our working papers please see our website.

These Professional learning for the 21st century theme can be found here.  


Professor Rachel Lofthouse

Professor / Carnegie School Of Education

Rachel Lofthouse is Professor of Teacher Education in the Carnegie School of Education. She has a specific research interest in professional learning, exploring how teachers learn and how they can be supported to put that learning into practice.

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