Will virtual teaching become the new normal in UK independent education?

Research suggests that being able to teach effectively virtually is now a sought-after skill, while the number of full-time virtual positions being advertised has increased

New research suggests more than a quarter of independent school teachers in the UK would consider virtual teaching permanently.

Specialist education insurer Ecclesiastical has released research which suggests 28% of independent school teachers in the UK would consider taking on a virtual role permanently in the future.

The survey also found that a third of independent school teachers have seen an increase in virtual roles being advertised and two in five are more concerned about falling behind technological changes since the pandemic.

Nine in 10 respondents said that their schools has invested in more technology since the pandemic.

The survey was commissioned by Ecclesiastical Insurance and conducted by OnePoll with 117 UK teachers from independent schools.

Virtual learning

Schools had to quickly adapt and revert to virtual teaching during the Covid-19 lockdowns and teachers believe this is a trend that is set to stay. More than a third (36%) believe there will be an increase in parents seeking online schooling as a result of the pandemic and a third (34%) expect schools will provide a combination of virtual and face-to-face learning in the next five years.

Many businesses all over the country have had to embrace remote working practices and a third (32%) of independent school teachers have reported seeing an increase in virtual-based teaching roles being advertised.

The effective delivery of virtual learning is now one of the skills independent schools look for when recruiting new staff, according to a third (36%) of the teachers surveyed. And now 32% are more concerned about falling behind technological changes as a result of the pandemic.

King’s InterHigh is an example of an independent online school which offers primary, secondary and sixth form education to children aged 7-18. All lessons are delivered online and students have access to live and recorded lessons.

Investing in technology

The majority of independent schools (91%) have invested in more technology since the start of the pandemic including laptops and tablets for teachers (41%), video conferencing platforms (40%), and homework and task management apps (38%).

Independent school teachers say a lack of funding (32%) is the main barrier to using Edtech at their school, followed by lack of digital capability and skills amongst teachers (29%).

Faith Kitchen, customer segment director at Ecclesiastical Insurance, said: “During the pandemic, many independent schools have had to adapt to virtual learning and invested in more technology and our research suggests virtual learning and hybrid learning is a trend that is set to continue.”

Read more: ‘Future of education must incorporate online, collaborative learning’

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